Monday, August 13, 2012

The Bourne Legacy: review -

Besides, Renner’s Aaron Cross has his own problems. He’s an Iraq veteran brought on board a new Defense Department scheme (“Outcome”) for enhancing the field abilities of its agents, both physically and intellectually, by the use of experimental drugs. The links between this program and the CIA’s Treadstone, which spawned Bourne, are dangerously close to the public domain, so Cross, like all his fellow Outcome guinea pigs, is cut adrift, tracked from Alaska to the States and onwards with much the same high-tech instruments of pursuit that Bourne had to outwit.

Renner brings a variation on his impudent Hurt Locker stoicism to bear on this: it’s nothing to do with him that the character lacks Bourne’s tragic air of a little boy lost, and is correspondingly less compelling. Gilroy excels, instead, at a millefeuille layering of interwoven agendas, with a good dozen new characters all on Cross’s trail and that of Rachel Weisz’s Dr Marta Shearing, an out-of-her-depth biochemist who’s merely been following orders and prescribing the pills. Minor characters, such as a colleague of Weisz’s played by the always-terrific Zeljko Ivanek, a briskly suspicious post-traumatic shock counsellor (Elizabeth Marvel), and a hungry Alaskan wolf with which Renner deliberately volunteers for a life-or-death tussle, get charge of whole scenes before we twig exactly why they’re here.

Recurring players from the previous movies also pop up and add extra frissons of complication. It’s a pretty nifty model of rapid, detailed and unpredictable storytelling which never needs to push us far forward in time: call it top-flight running on the spot.

Gilroy, it’s fair to say, doesn’t quite have Greengrass’s blistering action expertise â€" there’s nothing here on a par with that astonishing Moscow stuff in The Bourne Supremacy â€" but he hardly disgraces himself: the score, editing, photography and sound mix are all bang up to standard. It’s also fair to say, in a movie with a running time this generous, that the third act’s missing something important, not unlike the equivalent section in The Bourne Ultimatum.

A proper face-off with the most prominent villain of the piece â€" Edward Norton’s cobalt-cold ex-military operations boss â€" might have been preferable to an umpteenth reiteration of the rent-a-nemesis steeplechase. In Manila and on motorbikes, this one does its job as an obligatory action climax, but only just.

Gilroy hasn’t locked down every last task and stumbles at the end, but he keeps an awful lot spinning for an awfully long time. Caveats come later: while it’s pulsing on screen, you won’t want to be anywhere else.

No comments:

Post a Comment