Jason Bourne


Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), the CIA’s most dangerous former operative, is drawn out of hiding when old ally Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) finds him, to uncover more explosive truths about his past.

Jason Bourne reminds us that the series it belongs to is still one of the greatest action franchises out there, especially with Paul Greengrass in the director’s chair, and Damon in the spotlight. In 2012, we got The Bourne Legacy, which starred Jeremy Renner instead of Damon and failed critically because it didn’t feel much like a Bourne movie because of Damon’s absence and the lack of everything that distinguishes a Bourne movie from a regular action movie. In this film, Greengrass shows us that this series can still return to form after a mistake like that. Jason Bourne follows the formula set by the first three films, with lots of impressive shaky-cam action while Bourne is running from the CIA. However, it gets even more personal this time around, as he starts to uncover a final secret from his past. The story isn’t very new but as a huge fan of the series, I never lost interest thanks to the pacing and intense action. Damon is still fantastic as the titular character, even fourteen years after portraying the character for the first time. He never loses character both physically and emotionally, and it’s so much fun to watch him constantly kick ass in all four of these films. Tommy Lee Jones portrays a ruthless CIA director who’s as perfectly written and developed as Chris Cooper’s antagonist in the first film, while Alicia Vikander is superb as a CIA agent that, in a way, resembles Joan Allen’s Pam Landy from the previous movies. Although both characters feel familiar, they are most skillfully portrayed by two excellent casting choices for their roles. Vincent Cassel is also a great villainous newcomer to the series, with an interesting backstory and great writing to his character. It’s so impressive that even though the main characters are part of the franchise’s formula, each one of them was written so profoundly, and I loved the way they were developed and portrayed.

If you’re hoping to get some spectacular action sequences from this movie, then you won’t be let down because there is plenty of intense bone-crunching and heart-racing action that’s just as great as what Greengrass gave us in Supremacy and Ultimatum. There’s an epic motorcycle chase during a riot that glued my eyes to the screen, as well as an enormous car chase in Vegas that kept me on the very edge of my seat. The incredible use of practical stunt and shaky camera work definitely hold up. Cinematographer Barry Ackroyd is more reliant on shaky cam than Oliver Wood, who shot the original trilogy; Ackroyd has however proved to be a master at capturing exquisite action and scenery with his style in films like The Hurt Locker and Captain Phillips. Here, his style may feel overdone to some, but I believe the camerawork was done impeccably, especially during the action scenes. A lot of critics have sadly been disappointed by this movie, saying it doesn’t live up to the previous work of Damon’s Bourne pictures, but let me tell you that skipping this movie is not the right move for fans of action movies and especially of the saga. Jason Bourne gave me everything I wanted and even more. It’s strikingly written, phenomenally acted, and stunningly shot and directed. It’s definitely on par with the first three films, probably even better than Supremacy. The Bourne movies have truly raised the bar for action movies, and I haven’t seen many others like them. Jason Bourne is another fantastic example that did not disappoint, so please, despite what many critics have said, go see this movie with an open mind like I did, and who knows how much you may end up liking it?

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Snowden follows American computer professional Edward Snowden (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the film), who leaked classified information from the National Security Agency to The Guardian in June 2013.

Snowden is a movie I got to see two months before its release this September, and I’m glad I took the opportunity to watch it. Director Oliver Stone delivers an interesting, complex, and well-done biopic that taught me a lot more about who Edward Snowden really was, what he did, and why he did it. The film works as both an excellent biopic and a great political thriller. I’ve seen Joseph Gordon-Levitt shine in many films over the years, but I’ve never seen such outstanding work from him like in this film. I couldn’t see Gordon-Levitt in the film, I could only see Snowden. He completely changes his appearance, behavior, and most remarkably his voice to perfectly match the figure in real life. Towards the end of the film, an interview with the real Snowden is compared to one with Gordon-Levitt’s portrayal of him, and the efforts the actor made to become the character are unbelievable. Although I don’t think Shailene Woodley was the best choice to play her character, I feel like she gave the role her best and her performance didn’t turn out to be too bad. The movie also has a great supporting cast (including Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, and Nicolas Cage), and most of them deliver strong and interesting performances. Snowden works as a biography, a thriller, and an interesting drama. The movie gives us a better glimpse at the gravity of what Snowden did, and exactly why he did it. We get some depth inside the threat of our security at the time, and the controversy behind whether the NSA was doing the right or wrong thing by looking at our actions and personal information. Oliver Stone convinced me that Snowden was doing the right thing, and for the right reasons too, which wasn’t exactly what I believed before. This movie did what a great biography should do, which is change your view and opinion about the person being focused on by learning and understanding more about them. In the first twenty minutes of the film, the editing and cinematography feels off and not the way it’s supposed to be, but it’s all polished up afterwards, despite a few moments throughout where the editing feels somewhat odd. But the film’s great performances, storytelling, and effect are what matter the most. Instead of giving us all the information about the topic that happens after the film through closing cards, we get most of it through fragments of real newscasts about what happened, which isn’t something we always get in biopics, and I thought that was a different but much more effective way to deliver the audience information. Walking out after the film ended, I was left thinking a lot about the subject and what I had just watched, which proves the film succeeded at doing its job for its audiences.

Snowden is a well-done, excellently directed, and powerfully executed biopic that you should definitely watch in theaters when its released this September, and although the editing has a few moments that needed some more polishing, its performances and writing are what make it stand out from most of the other movies I’ve seen this year. I sure hope this movie gets the audience and praise it deserves once it’s released.

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