Friday, June 6, 2008

The Bourne Analysis

I liked the Matt Damon movies a lot, so I’ve decided to deepen the understanding of Bourne’s predicament by getting into the novels, and I was definitely impressed.

Although the novel has an added preliminary scene, both it and the film start off with Bourne floating in the ocean and being picked up by fishermen. The fishermen in the film try to help Bourne recover, while the narrative in the book takes a more developed start involving a drunk town doctor and a favor the mentioned fishermen owe to him. After this, the book and movie take two different tones.

Upon first seeing the film, I thought that it was a great blend of thrills, drama and intelligence. But the book, with all of it’s heavily thought-out espionage, makes the movie seem like a boiled-down action flick.

This doesn’t take away as much from the film as I might imply. Realistically, it would probably take about 2 3-and-some-change hour-movies just to capture most of what happened in the novel. And Matt Damon’s performance effectively provides that sharp, dramatic feel that the title character and his adventure give in the novel. And I’m glad that they’ve changed the love interest around.

In the film, Marie (played by Franka Potente) is a German traveler who Bourne paid to drive him to Paris. She had some of her own personality to contrast against Bourne’s with. She was easy-going, down to earth. A bit more modern, I guess.

In the novel, Marie was a highly intelligent Canadian economist who aides Bourne in his clandestine navigation around Paris and Zurich. She was also, in my view, almost completely servile to Bourne, falling in love with him and repeatedly professing this just a day or two after he’s beaten her, twisted her arm and terrorized her.

Supposedly, Marie sees him in a different light after she is kidnapped by Carlos’ (a major character taken out of the films) henchman and he saves her before she is raped. While this is...well...noble of him...I can’t really see how it would be enough for her to be completely willing to risk her job and life, diving into a world filled with murder and deceit just to help him out. At best, showing him an intelligent next step in his journey and then being on her own way would display the realistic amount of gratitude, but then again, I don’t know her psychology/personal history, and Ludlum must’ve seen something in their violent union that I can’t.

Anyway, it was definitely a good read. I look forward to the next film and reading the next book.


  1. I went to the movies last night and they had a preview for a video game for the Bourne Movies. Can't remember the name of it but I know its for xbox and playstation. Might be something your interested in! I've never seen all the movies and didn't know there was a book. Went to see the last one that came out and I liked it, but now after reading your blog I'm more interested in reading the books.

  2. I haven't got off my rear end to see any of the Bourne movies yet, but I have noted that they have been surprisingly well-received critically -- surprisingly to me, at least. Critics have given them more respect than I'd have expected for movies based on that pop genre, spy novels -- a good sign, I'd say.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    "Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"


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