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Ronita Torcato

A little chit, a little chat, a little bit of this & that;meaning news, views & lotsa reviews from an independent journo based in Bombay aka Mumbai



The Bourne Legacy
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Oscar Isaac, Stacy Keach, Albert Finney, Scott Glenn, David Strathairn, Joan Allen
Director: Tony Gilroy

Fast-paced and emotionally nuanced, Tony (“Michael Clayton,” “Duplicity”) Gilroy's powerfully staged spy thriller-actioner  has little in common with Eric Van Lustbader 's 2004 novel The Bourne Legacy, fourth in the series created by Robert Ludlum. Lustbader shared an agent with Ludlum, and  reinvented the series after Ludlum's death in 2001,writing as many as seven books about the titular spy. Gilroy's  film credits Ludlum as the inspiration for the 2012 spin-off. 
 If the Bourne trilogy found the titular amnesiac CIA operative unravelling the truth about his  past, the fourth film in the franchise features a new hero Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) whose life-or-death stakes are triggered by the events of the first three films:The Bourne Identity (2002)  directed by Doug Liman, The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) both helmed by Paul Greengrass. Tony Gilroy co-scripted all three box office hits and was retained to direct the new film which he has co-written with his brother Dan.

Expanding the Bourne universe with a slew of new characters like virologist Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz ) Retired Adm. Mark Turso, USN (Stacy Keach) and ruthless USAF Col (retd). Eric Byer (played by Edward Norton)  Gilroy presents the time and tested combination of international espionage, intrigue and plenty of action.
The story kicks off with a heart-stopping assassination  then cuts to Renner ( replacing Matt Damon as the central character but NOT  the titular spy)  as he encounters an enigmatic agent in the snowswept wilds of Alaska. What follows next is mayhem, murder, and deception in a complex narrative that tries to resolve the plot complications in a story that hints that our  desperate  hero from the Trilogy is still at large  on the planet.
Renner's character, Aaron Cross is less conflicted; he and his lab-configured confreres reminded me of "Universal Soldier", Roland Emmerich's 1992 sci-fi actioner about America's Viet Nam casualties who are reanimated as near-perfect (meaning robotic) soldiers.

 In The Bourne Legacy,  Aaron Cross is one of select genetically "enhanced" subjects in a secret CIA-authorized program code-named Outcome, an evolution of the previous films’ Treadstone and Blackbriar projects, which Bourne  exposed in  “Ultimatum.” Now, Dr Shearing seems to be loathe to go public even as she and Cross discuss the imperatives of science (but not ethics), talking to the media among other alternatives. Bu these are few and far between. Cross's exit from the program provokes a frenzied rush to destroy the evidence, which includes eliminating both Outcome recruits and  researchers. In the Alaskan wilderness, Cross narrowly escapes  a drone attack and later, saves deus ex machina mode,  Dr. Shearing (Rachel Weisz) in one of the film's best scenes. Like the previous three films, the fourth also criss-crosses the globe with Cross and Shearing eventually proceeding to Manila to ensure a sequel.Hopefully, a spate which could even have Bourne crossing Cross's path somewhere  in the course of their globe-trotting.

Legacy's music score is  pulsating, the camerawork  excellent; Renner is remarkable as Aaron Cross but franchise veterans Albert Finney, David Strathairn  and Scott Glenn don't have much to do except  to make sure that the rogue agent ( Cross ) is eliminated. Joan Allen is wasted in a blink and miss part. And the talented Mr Norton could have been better employed as the self-righteous agent who believes his actions are  "morally indefensible and absolutely necessary." Deja vu set in here for me. For, like many other Hollywood films,  Gilroy's Legacy too critiques the lack of a moral sensibility in state-run intelligence operations.

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About Ronita Torcato

Torcato Agnela Ronita
An incomplete round-up of movie news, features & views from an independent journo & (dare I say it:-) film critic in Mumbai



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