Jason Bourne “post-Snowden”, what now?

What is a “post-Snowden world”?

The Bourne franchise is arguably one of the greatest spy franchises released in the 21st century, heck maybe even all time. There’s no real question about it. We’ve seen Jason foster a severe case of amnesia, struggle to piece his life together, come to terms with his actions and seek to destroy those that he sought in the first place. Right up until he threw himself off a roof into the East River we felt we had Jason pegged.

But since Bourne Ultimatum left us with a satisfying twang of Moby’s atmospheric beats to the sight of Matt Damon swimming into anonymity. We were treated to a revival of the franchise with Jeremy Renner leading the charge in the aptly titled Bourne Legacy. For most this marked a step-backward, a way for the studio to cash in on Damon’s iconic anti-hero performance.

A trained assassin, simultaneously a master of subterfuge and sabotage Jason Bourne is a serious weapon, crafted by the canniving US Government to reek havoc on political enemies all in the name of fostering a ‘no-questions asked’ international Capitalist state. However, when Jason ruffles the wrong feathers and is framed for multiple international crimes he is soon hunted by the very organisation that funded his existence.

It turns out that Bourne Legacy was actually alright and stuck to the roots we grew familiar with under Greengrass and Damon’s guidance.

However, it was recently announced that Jason Bourne would be back. Back in all his celebrated notoriety in a currently unnamed Bourne title we’ll just have to call Bourne 5.

Not an attractive name I agree, especially when compared to the unconquerable Supremacy or Ultimatum, talk about a superiority complex. However, something interesting to take away from this announcement is a comment from Damon stating the new film will take place in an “austerity-riddled Europe and in a post-Snowden world.”

Now it’s no secret that austerity has been in the news recently what with the total economic collapse of Greece. So that’s a fairly easy angle to figure out, Europe is plagued by economic difficulty. Thanks America like we needed to be reminded. But this last statement about a “post-Snowden world.” What does this mean exactly? Bear with me here…

In 2014 Citizenfour won the Academy award for best non-fiction Documentary feature. No mean feat by any standard let alone the Oscars. But what is all this about. Well, Citizenfour follows the story of Edward Snowden, whistleblower, traitor, hero. Just three titles given to him following his decision to a) leak classified information from the NSA and b) to make it known that he was behind the leak.

Naturally it sparked significant controversy and attracted a lot of attention garnering a fair bit of media coverage along the way. But to the everyday Jason Bourne thrill seeker this information about a “post-Snowden world” may not have affected your everyday lives. Heck, even I forgot about it until I clicked on a tweet from Frank Marshall showing a ripped Damon in principal photography.

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Ironically this significant leak of information didn’t open the world of international security but rather forced its hand into turning in on itself. An effect since named ‘The Snowden Effect’.

While this information seems a little heavy for a generic JASON BOURNE IS BACK article I feel that the major media outlets that we so often refer to for our news of the world (not you Murdoch!)  have let us down in failing to highlight what on earth Matt Damon is speaking about when he says a “post-Snowden world.” Sure, Edward Snowden is old news, but clearly in the grand scheme of things his actions have had a severe knock-on effect, most explicitly evidenced by a whole ‘Effect’ being named after him. Usually that sort of honour is reserved for the likes of Doppler, Flynn, or Futurama‘s Farnsworth.

The fact that Snowden is now edging his way into the vocabulary of one of Hollywood’s leading actors says a great deal. But Hollywood intelligence stereotypes aside Bourne 5 sounds like an interesting and wholly different beast to the Jason Bourne we are so used to evading the likes of an all-encompassing ‘off-the-books’ government agency.

With such interesting potential will Bourne 5 add to the franchise we fell in love with? Or will it falter under the spectre of a different political environment?

Shooting began August 31 so we have a fair wait on our hands but needless to say any Bourne fan should find this news exciting. The wait is on.

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11 thoughts on “Jason Bourne “post-Snowden”, what now?

  1. I can’t wait for the next Bourne movie. I love all the politically charged movies that are coming out and Citizenfour was one of the best movies of last year. Oliver Stone coming back to the political genre is amazeballs because you look at movies like Platoon or JFK (some of the greatest movies of all time). They make people think and even change some people’s opinion. Snowden could possibly be the same… I just think Bourne 5 will use Snowden as a guide. If it is a huge success, then they’ll build on top of that but if it fails they’ll probably make changes. Great article James!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s strange to think of Oliver Stone as a serious director after ‘Natural Born Killers’ but here we have it! I also can’t wait for the next Bourne, mainly because I’ll have to rewatch the trilogy, I’ll just HAVE to!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Citizenfour was great. Very interesting read James, it is interesting that Damon made those comments. he is right though, Snowden’s leaks have changed so much, especially our perception of intelligence agencies.

    A doco to keep an eye out for is Killswitch. You might like it mate, its about ‘net neutrality’ and its bearing on politics

    Liked by 1 person

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