Wednesday, August 15, 2012

REVIEW: The Bourne Legacy

Cast: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton,

Director: Tony Gilroy

Writers: Tony and Dan Gilroy

When I saw it: August 15, 2011

Where I saw it: Rave Cinemas at The Greene

Why I saw it: It's a Bourne movie. Duh.

When Universal announced plans to make a Bourne movie without Matt Damon, many people cried foul. But the problem with the underwhelming Bourne Legacy isn't that Damon is missing - it's that precious directors Doug Liman (Identity) and Paul Greengrass (Supremacy, Ultimatum)

On the surface, handing the reigns to Tony Gilroy made sense. He had a had in writing all the previous Bourne movies. He's shown himself a very capable director, with his excellent first film, Michael Clayton scoring Oscar nominations, and a win for Tilda Swinton. My only concern was that Gilroy wasn't proven as an action director.

But Gilroy stages the action very well, especially the climactic motorcycle chase. Unfortunately, there's too little action and too many plot threads, turning the first half in particular into a muddled mess. Gilroy's Achilles heel as a writer-director is that he's too fascinated with making his stories into puzzles. There are so many subplots, diversions and reversals that they obfuscate and diminish the story. That flaw kept Duplicity from being as good as it could have been, and it kept the Bourne Legacy from being as good as it should have been.

This is not to say that The Bourne Legacy is a bad movie, but I can only give it the slimmest recommendation. What keeps it afloat are the action scenes, and the performances by Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton. All of them hold the screen extremely well, and when the relationship between Renner and Weisz finally comes to the fore, the movie finally comes alive.

At the same time, I wished that the movie were as good as that trio. I'd like to see them in another Bourne movie - hopefully with a director who is more disciplined.


Cinematographer: Robert Elswit, who is especially skilled with action, having shot Tomorrow Never Dies, Salt and Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol

Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1

Runtime: 135 minutes



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