The Bourne Supremacy

Bomb Rating: 

With so many directors ruining entire movies because they think a good action sequence involves shaking the camera until the audience blows chunks all over the theater, I no longer know how to protest. Should I organize a "March on Hollywood" and toss buckets of vomit on unsuspecting directors? Should I write letters to studio heads threatening dark repercussions if my demands for clear action sequences aren't met? Should I streak across the stage at the Directors Guild's next awards show with a sign tattooed on my ass that reads: "I'm nuts for good action"?

What business does director Paul Greengrass -- whose resumé includes a few lame movies, a lot of bad television and virtually no experience with action -- have trying to demonstrate his flair for jump-cutting and camera-jostling? Here's a unique vision, Paul: Why don't you try a simple static camera shot that gives the audience a chance to actually see what's going on? Why don't you successfully complete the single most basic shot in the cinematic repertoire before you go tying your handheld camera to the end of a rubber band or the back of an epileptic puppy or whatever it is that you're doing to make me ill?

I think several examples are necessary here. Early in the film, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) realizes somebody is coming for him, so he and Marie (Franka Potente) drive off. In the process, somebody gets shot. Unfortunately, due to Greengrass's incompetent direction, it's impossible to tell where the stationary gunman is relative to the car or how he pulls off the shot. There's simply no way to tell because Greengrass is more concerned with so-called clever, fast-paced editing than with clarity.

In a later scene, Bourne is trying to simultaneously elude CIA field operatives and convince CIA mission head Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) that he didn't murder two of her agents. In the process, he makes several quick escapes through foreign markets. Unfortunately, we have neither a sense of where he's been, who's following him, nor where he's trying to go, because once again, it's more important to Greengrass to cut away from all these things to appease the style gods. Finally, in a car chase pitting Bourne against a Russian counterpart, a sequence with the potential to be one of the best car chases ever, Greengrass forgoes a sensible visual approach in favor of making the audience feel like he's set his camera to vibrate then placed it on the seat of a Yugo with no shocks.

Ah, if only there were such a thing as a recall on directors.

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