Posted in 2010-2019, Film Review

Jason Bourne (2016)

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Image is property of Universal Pictures, Pearl Street Pictures and Perfect World Pictures

Jason Bourne – Film Review

Cast: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Julia Stiles, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassel, Riz Ahmad

Director: Paul Greengrass

Synopsis: Ten years after the events of The Bourne Ultimatum, Bourne is now laying low and living a relatively peaceful life, until an old acquaintance resurfaces with some new information on Bourne’s past.

Review: When it comes to near invincible badasses who dabble in the world of spies and espionage, then there are a handful of individuals that have established their reputations as the best of the best. The likes of a certain Mr James Bond, or Ethan Hunt or Jason Bourne are ones that are more than likely will jump to mind. While the likes of Bond carry themselves with class and elegance, and usually kicking ass whilst wearing a tuxedo, the likes of Bourne do not carry such sophistication, but he will still kick your head in regardless if you dare to cross his path, and after spending years living his life free from any CIA entanglements, he’s back in the game.

The events of The Bourne Ultimatum saw Bourne finally get some closure about his past and how he got involved with this predicament and that appeared to be that. However one of his former associates now has some new information that could potentially lead to some new answers concerning Bourne’s past and so, somewhat reluctantly, Bourne is back on the grid. Of course, it isn’t long before the CIA have him back in their cross-hairs, under the new leadership of Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) and Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) who will do anything they can to either capture Bourne or kill him, and so begins another enthralling chase across several continents and some very intense action scenes.

This is a role that Matt Damon has made his own, and is the role that the majority of people will associate with him the most. Although it is not his best performance as the character by any means, he is once again tremendous in the role bringing that grit and incredible fighting ability he possess to the fore. Out of the new recruits to this franchise, it is the work of Vikander, Jones and a ruthless assassin known only as The Asset played by Vincent Cassel that produce the best performances. Vikander, fresh from her Oscar triumph, shows great determination to lead the op against Bourne, all the while, trying to get him back on board. Cassel is usually bad news whenever he’s on screen, and here yes he’s very bad news indeed.

After coming on board to the franchise after The Bourne Identity, to direct the Supremacy and Ultimatum, Paul Greengrass has certainly cemented a reputation as an accomplished director of action. He is perhaps one of very few directors working today who takes shaky cam action and uses it, for the most part to great effect. By doing this the action scenes carry a lot of grit and realism to them, all the while making them utterly compelling to watch. This certainly applies here as the action scenes are once again tremendous, whether it be a chase in the middle of a riot or a high speed chase in Las Vegas, Greengrass knows how to get the viewer gripping their seat with excitement.

There is a sub-plot connected to a social media launch, and with several references to Snowden and the privacy controversy that that particular issues raised, thrown in there. Yet these do feel somewhat tacked on to the main story, which is that of Jason Bourne and his quest for the answers about his past. As such, you would have liked to have had a bit more on that story and less about Snowden and social media etc. The dialogue in places is a bit iffy too, and while it could have been better, you are here for the action. Nevertheless, Greengrass and co-writer Christopher Rouse have given us an exciting fifth entry to this franchise, and one will certainly hope that there will be more adventures with Mr Jason Bourne to come.

Bourne is back in business and while the action remains as gripping and as intense as ever with Damon once excellent, the story could have been much more streamlined to focus more on our titular character.

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Posted in 2010-2019, Film Review

Captain Phillips (2013)

All image rights belong to Columbia Pictures, Michael De Luca Productions, Scott Rudin Productions, Trigger Street Productions
Image is property of Columbia Pictures, Michael De Luca Productions, Scott Rudin Productions, Trigger Street Productions

Captain Phillips – Film Review

Cast: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, Michael Chernus, David Warshofsky

Director: Paul Greengrass

Synopsis: From the director of The Bourne Ultimatum and United 93, comes a factual account of the Maersk Alabama hijacking in 2009.  A group of Somali pirates board the Maersk Alabama and take Captain Richard Phillips hostage and demand a ransom while the US Navy pursues the pirates to rescue Captain Phillips.

Review: A nerve-wracking, suspenseful and riveting thrill ride. Right from the beginning of the film, the suspense immediately begins to build as Captain Phillips and his crew set out on their journey on their ship full of goods. As Phillips and his team set off, the perspective switches as we see the Somali pirates and what drives their malicious and cruel intentions. The fact that they must go out to these cargo ships and return to their superiors with hostages and or money, otherwise they will face dire consequences. This desperation is displayed emphatically by the leader of the Somali pirates Abduwali Muse, who is portrayed brilliantly by newcomer Barkhad Abdi in what is a fantastic debut big screen appearance. You see the dark desires that haunt him and the motives that force him to do what he has to do. You can see in his eyes his rage drives on the other pirates to carry out their evil intentions and that there is a point where there is no going back. It is either deliver the goods, or in this case hostage, or die.

From the minute the pirates begin their pursuit of the Maersk Alabama, your heart is immediately racing and you are kept on edge right throughout the pursuit as you watch it unfold on the screen. When the pirates board the ship, your heart still continues to pound as there is a constant fear that the pirates will at any given moment shoot one of the ship’s crew dead. For every action that is taken by both sides, there are consequences and these consequences can be fatal. You are kept on the edge of your seat throughout the raid. The suspense escalates even further when the pirates take Phillips hostage and threaten dire retribution against him unless they receive monetary gain. However, the final climax of the film sees the intense drama on screen go up another gear as the standoff between the pirates and the US Navy reaches an unbearable level. I could feel my heart pounding inside my chest as the climax was unfolding. Even after the film had reached its conclusion, my heart was racing.

Along with a great breakout performance from Abdi, Tom Hanks is on magnificent form here as the titular character. He is calm and collected when he appears to be facing certain death at the hands of the pirates. Yet at the same time, when he is put in this awful situation, he comes out fighting and shows the desire of a man determined to win his freedom and see his family again. While they are two very different characters, the two main men are both play out their roles exceptionally well. Yet the best is saved to last with one scene right towards the end of the film that leaves you completely taken aback by Hanks’ magnificent acting. This is a film that should at the very least land Hanks an Oscar nomination next year for his breath-taking performance and also maybe even land Greengrass a nomination for his outstanding directing.

This film is one of the most intense films that you will ever watch in your life. The two main men are brilliant in their roles. The action was incredibly intense and the score of the film was equally impressive. Great films sink their claws into you and ensure you are thinking about the film long after you have left the cinema. A thrilling adrenaline ride and this film is definitely has definitely sailed into one of the best films of the year so far.

Packed with terrific suspense, brilliant acting from Hanks and Abdi with masterful direction from Greengrass, a thriller that thrills in every sense of the word.

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