This fast-paced and slickly directed action-thriller stars Matt Damon as amnesiac Jason Bourne, who's pulled half-dead out of the Mediterranean with no identification apart from a Swiss bank account number embedded in his hip. Slowly Bourne pieces together the fragments of his life: he's American, highly skilled in combat and lots of people want to kill him.
Released in 2002, this adaptation of Robert Ludlum's spy thriller achieved three important things. First it breathed new life into the spy-thriller genre, which in turn gave the ailing Bond franchise a well-needed kick up the backside. Second it propelled Damon from wimpy boy-next-door to credible action star. And last, it arguably achieved the rare feat of a movie being better than the source material.
Damon is a revelation as Bourne, managing to simultaneously deal with every threat put in front of him while trying to piece together the details of his now forgotten life. Chris Cooper also excels as Ted Conklin, the shadowy agent trying to eliminate Bourne.
The action sequences are refreshingly visceral and non-flashy, and despite some of the silly situations that Bourne finds himself in, strangely realistic. The shaky hand-held camera style, which has since been copied to death since this movie's release, adds to the sense of originality that underpins the film.
A groundbreaking action/spy thriller that's spawned two more excellent sequels, The Bourne Identity set the bar for every movie of this genre that followed. A definite must-see.