Don’t let the gap in time fool you, Bourne is back and he hasn’t missed a beat. It’s been close to a decade since the last good Bourne film hit theaters with it’s iconic action, gripping story, and politically chiding undertones. The franchise, at least in the original trilogy, has always guaranteed these characteristics and has delivered in spectacular fashion. However, with an aging Matt Damon and the bad aftertaste left by Legacy, many questions could be raised, the biggest of which, is does it hold up? In short, yes.
Paul Greengrass who worked on Supremacy and Ultimatum wrote and direct this installment and you can tell. Fans of the series will rejoice knowing that exact same directing style and storytelling found in previous films is the same in this film. Greengrass, as always, keeps the camera unsteady, making scenes more tense and edgy and does his close up rotating view on the fight scenes. However, at times the effects and camera work eclipse the scene itself and the fight is more of a blur than anything else. Greengrass’ script is timely and well put together. While he doesn’t shy away from emotional exposition, he does certainly favor overly dramatic and drawn out action sequences. We get it, you had a very large budget and wanted to use. Nonetheless, it’s a good mix of character driven story with socio-political undertones. What it does well over all else is establish wonderful and fully developed lead characters, with their own unique histories and agendas.
One of the stars of HBO’s ‘Vinyl’, Ato Essandoh talked to The Knockturnal about working with Alicia Vikander, Matt Damon, and technology.
You’ve been doing a lot of TV lately, just wrapping up on Vinyl. How was doing film again?
First of all I was happy they were able to all work it out. TV is awesome because you get to be the character over a couple of months and you get to be a material piece of the storytelling. With movies it’s such quick hit. So I like to do both. I like to be involved in something, and have the artistic license to try these things and watch the story develop. Doing something like Jason Bourne, there is a different kind of acting that happens in an action movie like this. I remember Damon telling me look, there’s no time for considered acting, making choices and figuring out these different moments, you just have to fly. You have to go as fast as you can because the people who are actually involved in situations like he would be in real life don’t have much time to think. Everything is all on instinct. That was a really cool adjustment he gave me and helped me with a lot of things I tried to figure out playing Craig Jeffers in this movie.
How much other great advice did you get from Matt Damon?
First of all he’s really famous [laughs], like really dude. He can’t go anywhere without people filming him. The funny thing is Alicia Vikander and Damon and I are in the middle of a Vegas casino trying to shoot this scene. And Damon is Jason Bourne, and Jason Bourne is supposed to be really sneaky and disappear at a moments notice. And they call action. We have a bunch of extras but the casino is still filled with people who are actually there to gamble. So suddenly all these cellphones pop up and they’re all filming Jason Bourne as he’s surreptitiously walking by and trying to do some Jason-Bourne-y stuff. But Damon can handle it in a really mindful centered way. It was great to watch him work that way. I chased him around a Vegas casino for 6 or 7 hours in the middle of the night and he kept going. It was fun to watch him work and it was pretty inspiring as well.
That sounds like a fun moment, did you have any other favorite moments from the set?
Well, favorite moment overall, off-set Vikander and I and another friend went out hiking. That’s what I love about Vegas because I’m not really a gambler. I would go to Red Rock Canyon and go out there for hours. So we are hiking at one point and, because our cars were parked at different places, she said ‘why don’t we go that way’ once we’d gone to the edge of the trail. So instead of going down the trail, we started spelunking and sliding down the side of this hill. I took a couple of spills. At one point I was like we have two of the main cast members on the side of a mountain right now, if something happens to us this movie stops. And she was like ‘yeah don’t tell anyone we did this.’ I think it was because she was Swedish. Alicia Vikander almost getting me killed was my favorite moment.
Can you talk about your character, Craig Jeffers, a little bit? He’s not really on camera a lot but there seems to be a lot more than meets the eye.
He’s a company man. He’s trying to do the best for his company and his country. What you kind of can’t see in the film because it’s an action film is he’s being supplanted by Alicia’s character. So there’s jealousy and a little bit of ‘why the hell is she doing this?’ and ‘she screwed up.’ Those kinds of things. He’s been loyal to Tommy Lee Jones’ character so there’s a little bit of that. So let’s pick up our guns and run after Jason Bourne, because that’s much more fun.
The film has a big crossover between the government and the tech world. Are you a big tech guy?
Before I was an actor I went into software development and consulting. Although it was more data warehouse systems, but it had to do with information and the collection and aggregation of information, so all that stuff was familiar to me.
The back half of the film feels like this really action packed episode of ‘Silicon Valley.’
[laughs] Totally. But all that stuff is actually real. The stuff I’m started to read on io9. The technology we have right now is on par with what’s in the movie which gets scary. When you start to think about all the stuff that Edward Snowden was able to reveal to us. All the stuff we don’t know about it already here.
Matt Damon nails his performance in his most iconic role. He is gripping, troubled, and altogether envelopes the audience in his struggle. Alicia Vikander, as with all her work, is marvelous. She doesn’t just play her character or read the words off the script, but she entirely owns the character and brings the words to life. She is an interesting wonder to behold and to play of the fantastic Matt Damon. Needless to say, Tommy Lee Jones is flawless, cold, and thrilling throughout, as we’ve come to expect for decades of his great work.
Jason Bourne hits theaters on July 29.