I may be wrong about this, but I believe I have seen movies where the camera was intentionally attached to a sort of stabilization device. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen hours and hours of behind the scenes footage where massive cranes, rail based sleds, and even hand held devices that help the camera remain stable during fast paced shooting. Whether it was Paul Greengrass, Barry Ackroyd, or some other lunatic who decided that a Jason Bourne movie was beneath such technology, the fact that the entire movie looked like it was shot by your Aunt Judy at a graduation party completely ruined what could have been an somewhat ok action movie.
While the film did feature a plot that warned the public about personal privacy, government surveillance, and the fact that every government agent and agency is inherently corrupt, these are all things we expected. Needless to say, this plot wasn’t very developed and lacked any overall direction. There really is no need, though, to discuss the plot as this franchise proves when you stray from the guidance of Robert Ludlum the entire system falls apart and you are left with a noisy action movie. Which can be an alright thing when you talk about a popcorn munching summer movie. What ruined all of this was the truly awful and, at most times, unwatchable cinematography.
The film centered around three major action pieces. The first is a complex chase through Athens during a violent protest. The second was a choreographed cat and mouse game through Berlin between Bourne, the CIA, and the CIA director attempting to undermine the mission. The third, and longest piece, was a staged terrorist shooting in Las Vegas that started with a chase through a casino, a high speed chase down the Vegas strip, and a fight in a tunnel below a casino. All three were beautifully conceptualized and wonderfully executed and I personally think Simon Crane deserves some major praise for propping the movie up so heavily. Unfortunately, there will most likely be no praise given as his work is seen through the lens of a camera that I assume was zip tied to a bicycle.
Another gem I noticed, as I could rarely look at the screen without passing out, was a great sense of scale presented by some brilliant sound design from the entire team led by Oliver Tarney. I happened to see this movie with full Dolby Atmos sound which, for most movies, often equates to louder and bigger sound but this team placed small noises and voices all around the theater truly making you feel like you were in the movie, even if you could not look directly at the screen.
I am sure there are some shaky cam action junkies out there that will love this movie but for the most part I found it nigh unwatchable. The combination of the directionless plot and the confusing and, often times, vomit inducing visual method used makes this a giant miss for me. Couple that with the fact that Matt Damon delivered a very still performance, I would recommend waiting until streaming for this one.
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Dave is our sagacious entertainment and technology aficionado. You can count on him for movie reviews, entertainment news that you actually care about, and tech reviews of items that many love but few will ever use.
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