-A window ajar is a prelude in building to the joy of being limitless! That uneasiness of being familiar somehow, sometime, somewhere.......

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bourne FAQs

Things that you always wanted to know about Jason Bourne but didnt know where to ask.
When is the Bourne computer game scheduled to be released?
Most of the Bourneseries computer game is now complete and should be available for entertainment in a few months.

Is Bourne ambidextrous?
Bourne is a natural right hander, however he is trained to use both his hands on a reflex level.

My girlfriend doesn’t like Bourne, what should I do?
Buy her a card and Harry potter book and say good bye.

Is Bourne gay?
Ha Ha you wish, asshole.

I have motion sickness. Should I take Dramamine before watching the movie?
Unfortunately we cant answer that question without being a snob. You can take your brain to the cinema instead. If you have one.

I don’t like Bourne at all but my son adores him. What should I do?
You should get a DNA test.

I love the story of Bourne ultimatum but I found the editing too pacy ? What do you think?
I think your cinematic sense is zero. You should stick to help movies like Titanic
make millions, where they take three hours to sink a ship. Or go and find the Holy grail or something.

I see no artistic value in constantly shaking the camera. Isn’t it abusive towards the audience?
Not exactly. Perhaps a lesser audience yes. Let us restate the premises once again and forever.

Bourne is not your typical action movie which is often a pot pourri of this, that and everything possible like card games or drinking orange juices or cheap dialogues. Bourne is action from the word go, to such an extent that it is futile even to discuss the theory of action.

Any real cinema enthusiast would pick up that the director makes it clear in the Moscow prologue shots what’s it all about.

Bourne is being pursued to be killed.
Bourne is traumatised by his past.
Bourne has to fight.
Bourne doesn’t want to kill.(my argument is not with you)

That’s the template. There is no further plot or story. Its only the form which takes precedence over content. People who often complain of unwatchable shaky camerawork overlook the fact that Bourne lives only in present. Unlike other action heroes who choose to fight consciously, Bourne performs on a subliminal reflex level. Things happen even before they happen and as we see they happen constantly throughout the movie. Moreover, Bourne doesnt represent anything; as he says, he is just fighting for himself, no glorious cause or secret mission. So when you are telling a story of such a man, you would have to be really naïve to use deep focus photography, linear perspective or long shots to make sure that the audience comprehend the plot. Lets leave the Tom Cruises and Steven Spielbergs to that.

Bourne is basically about two unique attributes, pace and motion. Any such story with involves such dynamism is justified only by singular narrative. And since Bourne himself doesnt know the whole story, the camera has to narrate only bits and pieces of his perspective as the events progress in the movie. That’s what makes Bourne special. Why do you think the music is so tick?

Let me illustrate what I have said above with a few scenes I remember:

Consider the scene where he is assaulted by agents at the Waterloo station. The action is so fast that you cant see all the agents in one single shot. Camera, often alternating between Bourne's field of vision, and the approximate field of action, narrates how quickly the fight takes place - an arm being swung here and a limb being kicked there. Motion, space and pace. It is only because of this you feel the energy in the movie, which is what Bourne is all about. Fast decisions, quick thinking, classical ground espionage. It would be unpardonable crime if you put three medium range cameras and edit the action for the viewing comfort of the audience. Then, the visual information would simply be processed as in any other action movie: the hero fought bravely to disable few chaps. The very essence of Bourne would end up being stymied.

The only alternate to depict such intense fast action would be to have multiple cameras at different angles and fast edit it so that perspective expedites the illusion. This has been used in some movies. The one I can remember from the top off my head is Hannibal. The first market action sequence by Julianne Moore has no less than six cameras. If you watch the scene you would see. Although such a technique would definitely increase the pace of action, It would in no way justify Bourne's lightning reflexes. In case of Bourne where the action itself is the story, the pacing has to be far more innovative. Hence the haste. The camerawork is not novel; as mentioned earlier the technique has been used before fleetingly - classical example being Saving Private Ryan. In Bourne its used throughout, because it needs to be used. Also if you notice, in other parts of the movie, the editing and camera are used as tools to set the pace, often slowing down and often building up the speed of the movie.

Consider one another scene; the first CIA meeting at Langley: the shots are edited with quickly varying subjects of focus not lasting than a few seconds. It is a tool purely to narrate the heat in the room and as a build up for further action. That’s what is the art of cinema all about, isn’t it?
And if you look back, whenever directors have tried innovation in narrating a story like Memento, Pulp Fiction, The Blair Witch Project etc people have complained that their head aches or knee hurts or that they feel sick. It is only sensible to suggest they see a good doctor.

Anyway, the bottom-line is this. If the camera was not uni-narrative , Bourne wouldn’t be half the Bourne he is . And for thinking through this, and creating a great series the credit should go to Greengrass and Damon.

I am, in this context reminded of Jules et Jim where Truffaut blazes through the movie with jet engine narration. And what about Eisenstein's earlier ones where the viewer's attention is commanded mercilessly ? It's only because of these unique creative expressions, they are what they are now.

And, ladies and gentlemen, let this be heard, we are witness to one such unique creative narrations here. Rest assured, I am convinced, this is going to kick off something big , as if it hasnt already. (Remember Makers of Casion Royale admitting of going through miles of earlier Bournes clippings?)

All the talk apart, look who was Bourne today?


WillOTheWisp said...

Big Fan ... Are We?

I've got the first two and await local release of the third.

Ubermensch said...

Seems so, we have sworn allegiance.
Yes, dont miss it and once the DVD is out, it would be splendid to watch them one after another.

Bit Hawk said...

Great analysis!
I saw the all the 3 Bourne movies back to back and it was simply amazing.

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