Tuesday, 14 August 2012

REVIEW - THE BOURNE LEGACY


A shapeless meander through the half-interesting plot of half a movie. We get one hour of exposition, one hour of development and no conclusion - the entire third act is absent. And this isn't experimental storytelling technique, not in a film as tediously cliched as The Bourne Legacy. You know those films where the ending is a shamelessly tacked-on slice of sequel bait? This isn't even that - they would have needed a whole extra two hours to even get to that point - this film needs a sequel to justify its existence. The credits took me by surprise more than any other film I can remember. Up to that point, it's a thoroughly unremarkable film. There's not a single scene nor moment that felt indispensable. All there is are recycled scenes from the first three Bourne films, only imbued with much less urgency; indeed, a sense of urgency is sorely missing from the storyline - it never feels like there's anything important at stake. At worst, for much of the film, the main character faces a few days' cold turkey - his enemies don't even know he's alive until well over half way in. Early scenes take a simple plot and dress it up in with heavy dialogue and unnecessary globe-trotting; the pace is throttled by unwieldy editing - strangely, though, the most satisfying parts are the talkier parts (in which Tony Gilroy's skill with expositional language is manifested) which are, yet, the more detrimental to the flow of the plot. The film's climax is the obligatory chase scene, which is less energetic than it was surely intended to be, which was a disappointment: this scene communicates nothing, it advances nothing, it achieves nothing. Action scenes ought to be thrilling, of course, but they also ought to serve a purpose within the film. The only purpose this one serves is in dispatching one bad guy, one of many. And as if this lack of resolution wasn't quite enough, a final few scenes involve some new characters, new plot threads and new questions, all for that theoretical sequel. This film would have worked far better as the first two episodes of a TV series.