I met up with the Anonymous Economist for the first time in ages yesterday when we nipped out for a post-work cinema trip. We agreed that what we saw was excellent, but we disagreed about the title. I think “The Bourne Supremacy” is a terrible name for a novel or a film or even a video game.
Regardless of the spooks gossiping throughout about “oligarchs”, this is, in spirit, a Cold War movie—and all the better for that. It’s shot in a grainy, juddering, washed-out documentary style and set in all the locations you’d expect of that genre. One superb fight sequence takes place in a cramped, anonymously modernist bachelor pad and brings to mind the famous train compartment struggle in From Russia With Love, as two temporarily disarmed professional killers go at each other with whatever comes to hand. You recoil in your seat from the blows.
The realism of the presentation and the mostly sound acting are usually enough to distract you from the relatively small number of implausibilities in the plot and dialogue. For the bulk of the movie, the soundtrack pulls off the trick of being conspicuous and impressive without being distracting. If you want to watch a solid thriller that can’t disguise its nostalgia for “the old certainties”, check it out—but watch The Bourne Identity on video first.