The Bourne Series

Watching movie may be one of the popular hobbies to the public. The film as an art field may be more popular than other fields because of its expression ability. By unlimited this ability with technological development, film genres have varied. This variability could be from destruction and combination of ideas of this art. Spy film is one of the popular genres; it is generally a sub-genre of action and thriller film. The one spy film series in this essay is Jason Bourne films which is composed of three films, The Bourne Identity (2002), The Bourne Supremacy (2004), and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). This essay will discuss identification, description and ideological perspectives of this series.

The Jason Bourne film series is adapted by Robert Ludlum's novels. In beginning of this series, Jason Bourne was found by fishermen on a boat but he did not know his name, and he also had uncompleted memory of his past. During stay with fishermen, he found his extraordinary abilities, such as physical combat, fluent spoken many languages and superb at handling vehicles. However, he still had no idea of his past, and wanted to know who he was. His real name is David Webb and he had a wife and two children but they were unintentionally killed by two bombs. In addition, he was actually a special assassin for the Medusa, a top-secret and government-funded project unit of the CIA. He learned all the CIA protocols and trade-craft, which was for a fake job, and then he was deployed to various locations around the world and assassinated many people. But on a job in France, he failed his mission, and was shot in the back twice while attempting to escape. The CIA believed that he was dead, and covered all facts of the project. However, he appears out of the world. He must have died for the CIA to keep the secret. Now, they have to find and catch or kill him, and Jason Bourne also has to find truth – his identity, with a removal plan of them.

The genre of his series is action drama with thriller, and war film genre without tanks. Jason Bourne was a top-secret special agency but it is not now. Also, he has no idea about his past. Moreover, he has to find and fight truth behind the facts. Simply, this series deals about one man’s journey to find his identity. Typically, spy films treat spies who find out the political, military, or industrial secrets of enemies or rivals. Through theme of fictional espionage, these films could be divided between realistic and fantasy, so Jason Bourne series could be the realistic story. In addition, the spy film genre is involving a spy or a secret agent who has been well trained by the military with good career, and a love for own country or organisation. Also, spies usually work alone with their organisation's support and always use the state-of-the art technologies (Britton 2006, pp. 123-125).

Although Jason Bourne series is one of spy films and follows the typical plot of spy films, however, he is now not a spy, and wants to know his identity more than ever. To Jason Bourne, killing someone who tried to kill Bourne is just steps, not his purpose. That is why Jason Bourne called "a spy for the new era" (Tallerico 2007, para. 2).

There is only one option; to be us or to be them. Spy films talk about relationships of contrary positions. The positions are in the middle of their unshaken faith; protecting and keeping. Moreover, in the historical timeline, the enemies in spy films changed from secret organisations to the Soviet Union. However, after the Cold War, modern spies have fought the insiders or the Third World. The history of spy film genre is quite long. It began in the silent picture days, and it is still continued with historical context, such as the start of the First World War, and the Second World War and the Cold War (Britton 2005, pp. 219-221).

After the Cold War, spy films especially in Hollywood needed new enemies instead of Soviet Union. Secret organisations nobody knows have been dealt by this need. However, just 'cause' is often not making sense. Ironically, it is estrangement between real and what in the "film". "The action spectacle is arguably transvergent: it is defined by technology instead of culture, not only in terms of its content but also in terms of its mode of production, latterly through the use of digital special effects in particular" (Brown 2007, pp. 95-96).

Just truth and conspiracy without heroes and enemies

Jason Bourne tries to find who he was, it is not who I am. His past is probably fact to him (he also believes that his past does not belong to him, it is slanted). However, his past is the result of his choice in his life. So, where was truth and where is truth? Truth and fact are not different; it depends on his sense of responsibility, because his life must have belonged to him. In addition, the truth of others, Pamela Landy and Noah Vosen who also work for the CIA as high-class managers (they also argued about his identity) truth also belongs to them, even if they walked the same way. There were no heroes and enemies, because they did the right thing they believed. It is just point of audience's view. Moreover, everybody lost truth but nobody lost their justice. At the end of this series, Jason Bourne can know his past and truth he wanted to know, but he had to run away with real Jason Bourne as David Webb.


Britton, W. 2005, Beyond Bond: Spies in Fiction and Film, Praeger, London.

Britton, W. 2006, Onscreen and Undercover: The Ultimate Book of Movie Espionage, Praeger, London.

Brown, W. 2007, 'Sabotage or Espionage?', Studies in French Cinema, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 93-106.

Tallerico, B. 2007, ‘Is It James or Jason You Want in Your Corner?’, Bond vs Bourne, viewed 13 December 2007, <>.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks this was helpful