Director: Tony Gilroy
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Albert Finney
Run Time: 135 minutes
Release: 15th August
The action-thriller has become the rebranded platform for the conspiracy-thriller. Moreover, it’s what the sequels to conspiracy-thrillers are dubbed, meaning that sequels or off-track continuations often push the action over the initial conspiracy. With The Bourne Legacy it’s quite difficult to figure out upon which terrain we stand.
The film begins just before the conclusion of The Bourne Ultimatum, as the National Assay Agency led by Eric Byer (Edward Norton) begins damage control; expunging all known ties to any and all black-ops and ‘neutralising’ their Assets across the field. Outcome agent Aaron Cross (Renner) evades death, only to thrown into a quest to stay alive, enlisting the help of Outcome scientist Dr. Marta Shearling (Rachel Weisz).
This, however, is where the plot differentiates from that offered in the trailers. Unlike the rest of the Bourne franchise, Legacy is not so much about getting to the bottom of a sinister conspiracy, as it is about staying alive in the face of monstrous adversity. The exposition of the film breeds intrigue, spinning the audience from agency headquarters to protagonist Cross in an Outcome training programme in Alaska. Certainly, the opening of the plot is cleverly intertwined with its predecessors, balancing a distinct reverence for Jason Bourne’s story with the beginning of a new one. However, as the narrative unravels, it becomes evident that there was a certain degree of impatience in the assembly.
All the hallmarks of a Bourne film are present, but are not blended into the fast-paced pastiche we have become accustomed to within this canon. The action sequences are heavily reminiscent of the franchise’s ancestry but lack the patience to tie one to the other. As the story bounces back and forth between the agency’s situation room and the intensity on the ground, the cohesion falters and seems to become unintentionally juxtaposed. Unfortunately for director Tony Gilroy, this does not serve to reveal any thematic twists or points, but perpetuates the notion that there really is nothing left to uncover.
Renner and Weisz share a decent on-screen chemistry, letting their talent facilitate the drive that the screenplay has not afforded the film. Renner, in particular, impresses as he manages an individual in the flux of confusion and withdrawal; powerfully toeing the audience along his arc. Likewise, Norton keeps a balance of cold practicality as his tone reveals the widening schisms within the governmental agencies.
While the technical aesthetics of The Bourne Legacy are calm and collected, illustrating a more contemplative mood across the outset of the film, the often frivolous and seemingly inconsequential information and dissemination thereof acts as a weight on a movie that is unsure of what it wants to deliver. Brimming with potential and comprised of an excellent and more than capable cast, Legacy just can’t seem to find its footing.