Favorite screenplays: The Bourne Identity part 6


Jason and Marie have gone, in two days, from strangers to lovers.  Marie, once spooked and then terrified by Jason, is now totally into the whole Bourne lifestyle — although she doesn’t really know what that means yet.

Jason needs to go to the Hotel Regina to find out what he can about this John Michael Kane fellow, the man who Wombosi has found dead in the morgue.  Meanwhile, Wombosi, hopping mad about the fake dead guy in the morgue, suddenly becomes a real dead guy in his house, shot by another of Jason’s figurative brothers, a cool character called Professor.

(Professor is first discovered teaching piano to a boy.  He is, apparently, a piano-teaching-super-assassin.  I’m not sure when “can teach piano to boys” came in handy in his super-assassin training.)

In a bit of comedy, Jason sets up an elaborate plan with Marie for getting John Michael Kane’s hotel bill, and Marie throws the whole thing out the window and just goes up to the counter and asks for it.  Marie, although she is a stark amateur, is perfectly fine at detective work and Jason is impressed.  Again, identity is the theme — Jason believes himself to be the authority and Marie to be the naif, but she turns those roles inside-out — instead, Jason overthinks things and Marie is the intuitive one.

Back at CIA headquarters, Abbott storms into Conklin’s office, steamed about Wombosi’s killing.  Conklin knows that Professor did it, but tells Abbott it was Bourne.  Since Abbott doesn’t officially “know” anything about Bourne or Treadstone or assassinations at all, Conklin can blame Wombosi on a loose cannon and also assure Abbott that Bourne will be killed at the earliest possible opportunity, thus tying off the whole Bourne problem.  Not only is Conklin a bad father, he’s a bad son, lying to his father to cover his ass, blaming his own sins on his son.

While Nicolette and Conklin’s boys track Bourne, Bourne goes looking for this John Michael Kane fellow.  His one lead is a yacht-selling concern, where everyone knows him and is astonished to see him (since I guess word got around he was killed in an auto accident).  Citizen Kane was, apparently, in the middle of buying a yacht when he disappeared, the same yacht as Wombosi owns.  Again, identity identity identity — the concept gets woven into every scene in the movie, on both deep and superficial levels.  Jason is not Kane, but on the other hand he’s not Bourne either, and either way he’s certainly not buying a yacht — who would do such a thing?

Jason meets up with Marie and reports that he is Kane, and Marie tops it — Kane is dead, she knows where the body is.  So the two of them hie themselves to the morgue and find that Kane’s body — whoever it was — is gone, and the last person to see him there was Wombosi.  They head over to Wombosi’s house to find that he, too, is dead.

The newspapers (how 2002!) confirm that Wombosi has been killed by an assassin, and that he survived another attack three weeks earlier on his yacht.  Jason now knows that he is an assassin, and that he tried — and failed — to kill this Wombosi guy and that, somehow, got him into his present predicament.

All of which is upsetting enough, but Marie freaks out as well.  She liked Bourne when he was in trouble, loved him even, but a trained assassin is, apparently, a real turn-off for her.  (Women.)  This isn’t just an Act II low point for Jason, it is for Marie as well, and she’s only been in the movie for one of those acts.  It’s a testament to both the subtlety of the script and the actors’ performances that we feel Marie’s pain, fear and betrayal, this romantic hurt in the middle of this fast-paced, big-budget spy thriller.

Marie wants out, but Jason can’t let her go now — she would be killed.  For the first time, Jason is willing to fight to keep Marie.  Not for the reasons she would prefer, but that seems to be the nature of their relationship.  You have to find yourself before you can lose yourself in another.