Owen Gleiberman
June 28, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Bourne Identity

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
113 minutes
Wide Release Date
06/14/02
performer
Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Brian Cox, Clive Owen, Julia Stiles
director
Doug Liman
distributor
Universal
author
Tony Gilroy, William Blake Herron
genre
Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a C+

As The Bourne Identity‘s on-the-run amnesiac hero, Matt Damon, playing an assassin without a cause, gets to show off some deftly timed martial-arts moves, flipping his limbs around with the slashy precision of ninja nunchakus. Damon’s character, Jason Bourne, is some sort of black-ops shadow agent on assignment in Europe; after getting injured in a mysterious fracas, he has lost touch with any memory of who he is or how he got there. The movie has a few whispers of intrigue, but at its heart lies a dispiriting paradox: The more that Jason Bourne learns about himself, the less arresting he seems. ”The Bourne Identity” plays like John Le Carre with a couple of burned-out cylinders. The film wants us to look at these CIA superkillers and say, How ominous. Instead, a lot of viewers may now think, As if, or even If only.

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