Welcome to the latest edition of 24 Frames. Sahara Shrestha and Andrew Jamieson will be guiding you through the exciting, confusing and often brilliant world of 'film'. Expect news, trailers and plenty of opinion.

The latest edition is brought to you by Andrew Jamieson, who can be found on twitter over at @theghostwriterc.



The 'Jason Bourne' Edition

This week saw the start of one of the best film festivals in the world, as Tom Hanks and company kicked off the London Film Festival with the new Paul Greengrass movie Captain Phillips (2013). As many of the awards season contenders start to surface over the next few months, this movie in particular stood out for me as one to see. The main reason was the fact that this movie is a Paul Greengrass movie and he himself was responsible for two parts of what is in my view one of the best popular culture trilogies of all time: The Bourne trilogy (2002-2007).

Doug Liman was the first director to bring author Robert Ludlum's spy to the screen with the wonderfully kinetic and glossy first entry in the series. After he departed Universal pictures opted for Paul Greengrass, a British director who had managed to provide a glimpse into the torment and pain caused by a massacre by British troops in Northern Ireland with Bloody Sunday (2002).

When The Bourne Supremacy (2004) was released it served as a telling addition to the franchise that managed to take the material into a darker place while effortlessly widening the scope of the franchise with an underlying treatise on the loneliness and isolation felt by the main character. The screenwriter, Tony Gilroy, created a story in which the character of Jason Bourne faced a life changing loss and the ultimate chance to reconcile his past deeds for his own future. If you have not yet experienced the movies as a whole then please stop reading now!

There is a moment in the movie in which Bourne's lover Marie. played by Franka Potente, tells him prior to her brutal murder that he always has a choice, a decision to decide not to take life anymore. This thematic concern remains with our central character for the rest of this movie and its sequel. As Bourne finds himself in Russia, he faces the offspring of one of his victims and apologises for taking the lives of her parents. Having already lost his own lover, Bourne understands the price of loss. This moment in the movie is wonderfully intimate, as Bourne says to the young girl whose apartment he has broken into: "When what you love is taken from you, you wanna know the truth." This moment maintains an emotional complexity and yearning. It also portrays the main thematic concerns of the entire trilogy, and a complex reckoning for the audience that is finally clear in the last movie. The conceit that Bourne is a man who has lost his own memory earns our support as audience members. However as Greengrass closed the trilogy with The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) the audience is left with a thrillingly ambiguous idea, Jason Bourne was not a hero prior to his deceptive recruitment into espionage.

By the end of the trilogy however we have rooted for Bourne as a man who has truly achieved redemption from his past, a past that was defined by doing the right thing during a failed assassination attempt in the first movie. At the end of the first movie, Clive Owen's 'Professor' said to Bourne "look at what they make you give." Bourne himself repeats this line to an assailant at the end of the final movie. He is a man who has finished his journey. I mention these points because with these movie all anybody talks about is the frenetic action and camera work and I think these movies should be regarded as a character piece as much as three blockbuster action thrillers, it is a credit to Greengrass, Damon and Tony Gilroy that they shepherded this story through such an emotional and thematically consistent set of movies. Greengrass showed that you could have an action hero with a heart, as the Bond producers would illustrate two years after the Bourne Supremacy was released with Casino Royale (2006).

  • Matt Damon and Franka Potente in The Bourne Supremacy

Matt Damon has been lambasted ever since he was parodied in the Team America movie, however I always knew he was a versatile actor with a liberal sentiment and a grounded and surefooted approach to acting. He is supported here by a great cast over the two movies. Joan Allen, Julia Stiles, Brian Cox and of course Franka Potente offer an indelible imprint on the trilogy as much so as any Christopher Nolan ensemble. I cite Nolan here because the second Bourne movie was a dark and politically subversive picture even before Nolan's second entry into his marvellous trilogy The Dark Knight (2008) was released. The overall character arc here is also quite similar to the final part of The Dark Knight Trilogy. The political subtext of the Bourne movies are also important when considering current political debates about NSA intrusion and the furore around Wikileaks. Before any of this happened it was Paul Greengrass who was always concerned about the rights and wrongs of such practices and addresses them in his Bourne movies in a subtle but fairly intuitive way. When we now see these ideas playing front and centre in our national news and political debates, it adds a disturbingly scopophilic edge to the narrative.

So I wish Paul Greengrass and his cast all the success in the world with their new picture, this guy was born to do it.

See also: 24 Frames: The 'Jack Ryan trailer' Edition