A man presumed dead is discovered near the coast of France by a group of fishermen. He is suffering from amnesia and, having discovered the number to a Swiss bank account embedded into his hip, travels to Zurich in the hopes of discovering his true identity. His life is further complicated upon arriving in Switzerland, where he discovers a safety deposit box containing passports - each of which his and yet each of which for a different country of citizenship – along with a linguistic ability he didn’t know he had, and an exceptional knowledge of martial arts.
And so Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) embarks on a pan-European trip, in the search for his true identity, whilst at the same time avoiding those he had previously worked for, picking up German-born Marie (Franke Potenta) along the way, who of course complicates his life even more.
The Bourne Identity is a more unconventional action film than you will have seen up to now, but what it lacks in audacity it makes up for in ingenuity. Director Doug Liman (Swingers, Go) once again shows his ability to make films that quite simply look pretty damn cool – the pace of the film is great fun for the audience to watch – and he manages to extract some great performances from his cast.
Matt Damon is, admittedly, a somewhat unlikely action hero, but he manages to pull the role of Bourne off with a great deal of panache. The fighting scenes are interestingly conceived, and the lack of formulaic action sequences is a breath of fresh air. Potenta, Cooper and Owen, all of whom match Damon in terms of enthusiasm and energy, also seem to be enjoying the ride.
It’s not the most intellectual film you’ll ever see, by any stretch of the imagination – but at the end of the day, it’s got action, romance and a bit of a laugh…and it’s definitely worth your time.