So, yeah, the first thing I do on visiting the Edinburgh Film Festival is go to a mainstream Hollywood blockbuster. I’m easing myself in gently.
I don’t believe that either. I just like big dumb action flicks. One last blast of Hollywood before the festival, courtesy of the cold, chill stealth indie styling of Paul Greengrass, and Matt Damon’s steely-eyed confusion (could be acting, could just be he can’t believe his luck) – pulling out all the stops on their crunchy action sequences, all tied up in plausible yet still somewhat ill-defined conspiracy – all that quick-cut computer screen “I want his location now!” stuff – David Strathairn doing sterling work as this film’s black-ops/wet-ops-happy patriot.
Yes, it’s all, comfortingly, more of the same, even if that includes the bit where you wonder why nobody can find Julia Stiles more stuff to do. It also means that it’s got just enough wit – particularly about the absurdity of some of the action sequences (“He’s driven off the roof!”) – although the contrast between said action and Damon’s glum “What have I become” reflection in the aftermath is starting to look a little predictable.
Other parallels with the previous films work better, including a chronological cross-over with the end of ‘Supremacy’ – although I’d be interested to know if that was always intended. And while I like the ill-fated Guardian journalist shtick, you have to be slightly worried at the motivation – are we laughing with or at? Because one suspects you wouldn’t react in the same way if it was an Indy or a Times journalist. Not to mention that Paddy Considine reminds me inescapably of his turn in ‘Hot Fuzz’…