Matt Damon, Franka PotenteDirector:
Bourne Identity adheres to all the seminal tenets of a typical Hollywood thriller. It's breathlessly paced so that the viewer has little time to pause and reflect on the action or to pick holes. The plot can easily be summed up in a sentence: an amnesiac secret agent (Damon) is on the run to escape assassination attempts and to seek out his true identity. As per the Hollywood formula, he also chances upon a nomadic girl (Potente) who lends him a helping hand and the two end up kissing and sleeping together.
Damon himself doesn't really have much to do other than look terribly confused and moody. Of course, he also has to bash up the bad guys, the prerequisite of any agent's job. Yet, there is something about Damon's Jason Bourne that sets him apart from the other all-American muscle-rippling He Men like Sly Stallone and Arnie Schwarzenegger. It's classy the way he easily scales buildings, knocks off the villains with something as harmless as a pen and then just walks away as though nothing had happened. Super cool! The body language and personality that Damon invests in Bourne creates an impression of intelligence and depth, however specious these qualities may ultimately be. Bourne is attractive also because he is so unreachable, he is a guy who will always "walk alone". An invisible wall seems to distance him from the viewers as well as his on-screen lady love. Their bohemian relationship tingles with an underlying sense of anxiety and doom which gradually disappears as we approach the climax. In fact, the end comes as a big disappointment because it's so square. A gripping ride that just stops short of taking you to the very edge.