Jason Bourne: Where are you now?The bourne Ultimatum, 2007
Noah Vosen: I’m sitting in my office.
Jason Bourne: I doubt that.
Noah Vosen: Why would you doubt that?
Jason Bourne: If you were in your office right now we’d be having this conversation face-to-face.
The story I have selected to analyze for this assignment is the Bourne Ultimatum. The Bourne Ultimatum is the third film in the original trilogy. The story, built up to this final blow out film was the apex of the thrilling stories of Jason Bourne. A brief synopsis of the story behind the film can be found here. If you don’t want to look into it- a guy wakes up with no memory but finds out there’s a tracking beacon in his neck. Bourne goes on a long trek across the world to discover who put that in him, and why he’s so highly trained- with no recollection of it. He has a deep desire for answers, Bourne would do whatever it took to find the truth.
This internal struggle can be found in a lot of spy films, the amnesia aspect was the differentiating factor. In 007 Skyfall, 2012 James Bond is not dealing with amnesia, but a suspected internal defector. His own mentor, ‘M’, almost gets killed when someone leaks their HQ’s location to an enemy of MI6. Bond then goes on a bullet-filled adventure to find who is responsible for the attack.
Why am I talking about James bond on a post about Jason Bourne? Because it highlights the similarities between the two stories. This is just one broad-stroke glance too. If you look deeper, there are many more similarities within the two stories. According to our book,
” A related approach to understanding meaning in a story is to focus on a problem or crisis, especially a personal one. What kind of story is there without some problem or struggle? […] It is easy to dislike a story for its lack of significant problem, which leaves an impression of dullness or emotional flatness. “The New Digital Storytelling, pg. 7
Both of these stories are laden with a significant amount of internal struggle. These stories are defined by the struggle that these lone operatives face. It is what makes these films and stories so great. One man, possibly two or three helpers at the max– against impossible odds. They take these missions on because they want to do great things, its in the nature of these characters. They have the insatiable drive for greatness intertwined into these characters. That’s why in many of these films their backgrounds are laden with elite achievements in athletics (Archer, for example, was an elite lacrosse player), Bond went to incredible prep schools, and Bugsy from Kingsman went to his crazy difficult spy training school.
The films are developed and maintained by the ‘what if’ feelings they garner and maintain. “What if the enemy knows?”, “What if they pull this off?”, and so many other examples. These questions are so expertly prompted throughout the films and stories- to keep us hanging on. These are the things that I think identify a great spy flick. The personal motivation, the mission to overcome, and the questions that they raise are exactly what makes spy films and stories the favorites of so many across the world.
Thanks for reading, let me know if you agree or not down below!