Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA/Germany/Czech Republic, 2002. Universal Pictures, The Kennedy/Marshall Company, Hypnotic, Kalima Productions GmbH & Co. KG, Stillking Films. Screenplay by Tony Gilroy, W. Blake Herron, based on the novel by Robert Ludlum. Cinematography by Oliver Wood. Produced by Patrick Crowley, Richard N. Gladstein, Doug Liman. Music by John Powell. Production Design by Dan Weil. Costume Design by Pierre-Yves Gayraud. Film Editing by Saar Klein.
Flawed and uneven but breezily enjoyable adaptation of Robert Ludlum’s popular spy novel. Matt Damon is an amnesiac who is saved from choppy Mediterranean waters by French fishermen, then begins an intensive search for his identity once he reaches shore. Little by little the clues unveil themselves and he begins to figure out that he was once a government assassin who failed a job and ended up in the situation where he was found; the audience already knows this because the scenes that deal with CIA headquarters in the USA reveal it all before he finds out about it. Now teamed up with a quirky, wandering German tourist (a delightful Franka Potente), Damon is running across France in an effort to save his life from his previous employers who want to get rid of him for his bungling up the last big job. This kind of story is the stuff of exciting movies, but unfortunately Doug Liman doesn’t fill up the scenes between all the perfectly choreographed fights with enough intrigue, instead concentrating on benign conversations between the two highly talented and underappreciated stars, then spending too much time on plot lines that go nowhere. The CIA operative played by Chris Cooper is so weak a nemesis for Damon that the film is pretty much devoid of any exciting moments, nor is the whole identity crisis involving his amnesia developed well enough to be effective. Odd as it is, the film is still an easy pleasure to watch considering that laziness is its main flaw and therefore there’s nothing actively hateful you can say about it.