Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Media Watch:
'Bourne Supremacy' provides lively international thriller

by Father Tom Caswell, for the Inland Register

(From the Aug. 19, 2004 edition of the Inland Register)

Movie Review

The new thriller The Bourne Supremacy begins on a beach near Goa, India. Jason Bourne, played by a returning Matt Damon, adds new energy to the second in the Robert Ludlum novels brought to the screen.

Early on we are reminded that Bourne has been a trained CIA killer who has lost his memory. He is aware he is always in danger, even in India. A Russian hired assassin suddenly appears in Bourne’s idyllic world, where he lives with the mysterious Marie (Franka Potente). The assassin (Karl Urban) immediately sets this fast-paced, energetic movie in gear. The chase scenes that are excellently done throughout the film begin in Goa. The events that take place there turn the film in a new direction.

Suddenly Bourne finds himself in Italy looking for the killer who believes he is dead. From the beginning, Berlin CIA head Pamela Landy (Joan Alien) begins to close the noose on Bourne as he heads toward Berlin. She believes he has killed two of her agents. Traveling to the Virginia headquarters of the CIA Landy hooks up with Ward Abbott (Brian Cox) whom she believes knows more than he is telling about Bourne’s past history.

Landy uses her authority to pull Abbott to Berlin, where she plans to capture Bourne.

Like any good thriller, The Bourne Supremacy is constantly giving small clues as to what is going on. The clever reality of Jason Bourne being an amnesiac means the viewer is tied to Bourne’s continued point of view in trying to make sense of present dangers in light of a past he barely remembers.

The cat-and-mouse movement between the almost obsessive Landy and the intense Bourne gives this movie incredible suspense.

The final third of the film takes place in Moscow as Bourne seeks the Russian oil interests who seem to be behind the assassin chasing him. The final car chases in the Russian capital are filmed in a very fast-cut style that for older viewers may be confusing. But it is truly extraordinary film making.

Matt Damon makes memorable his Bourne role, a part filled with physicality. He has very few lines in the film, and the lines he has are often spoken in German and Russian.

Alien as the Berlin CIA head is hard as rocks, but by the end of film we see her very human side.

Brian Cox is outstanding as the man who seems to know what has happened and is trying to keep one step ahead of events to save himself.

The music by composer John Powell is heart-thumping. It is integral and extremely important to the success of the film.

The fast cuts of cinematographer Oliver Wood are intense under the direction of Paul Greengrass. Thankfully there are moments when things slow down, as when Bourne talks to a frightened Russian in her early 20s and we begin to clearly see what has just happened.

The film is shot in cool silver colors in Berlin and Moscow and muted browns in India. The cities of Berlin and Moscow look both threatening and attractive. They have never been filmed so coldly yet so beautifully.

The Bourne Supremacy is rated PG-13 for violence and intense language. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office for Film and Broadcasting rates The Bourne Supremacy A-III – for adults.

Media notes

If you haven’t yet seen CBS’s Joan of Arcadia you are missing good family television. It is on Friday nights at 8 p.m. One family told me it is one program like in the “olden days” the whole family of teens and parents watch the show together and then talk about it. At the Emmys Amber Tamblyn is up for best actress in a series and the show itself is up for best series. This is quite a feat for a program that just completed its first year.


For adults, the new FX network series about the New York Fire Department post-9/11, titled Rescue Me, is heart-wrenching drama. Denis Leary plays the fireman who lost his best friend in the Twin Towers. He now is faced with marriage break-up and all the psychological issues coming from the deaths of people he was unable to save during his career as a fireman. The acting is powerful and the themes are intense. It is on Wednesdays at 10 p.m.


Louisiana and Montana author James Lee Burke’s new novel, In the Moon of Red Ponies, is a page-turner for anyone who has been to Western Montana and Missoula in particular. Familiar places you may have visited in downtown Missoula and the surrounding valleys and mountains are vividly portrayed. Burke is particularly strong on describing the smells of the countryside his characters inhabit. Father Jim Hogan and Father Ed Monroe are thanked for their friendship in the novel’s acknowledgments.


The book Voices from the Council, edited by Michael R. Prendergast and M.D. Ridge and published by Pastoral Press of Portland, has a memorable chapter by Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen that was given in a public address at Seattle University on Oct. 11, 2002.

Archbishop Hunthausen describes his going to the first session of the Vatican II Council in 1962 as one of the youngest bishops there gathered. Our own Bishop Topel had made arrangements for several bishops to stay in Rome at a convent that was off the bus routes and distant from the council. Archbishop Hunthausen went out and found a used Volkswagen bug for $1,300. So each day Bishops Topel, Trienen, and Hacker of Bismarck (who ordained me in 1966) would climb into the small car with Archbishop Hunt-hausen at the wheel. The stories of their drives to St. Peter’s are hilarious.

The funniest story is when Bishop George Speltz of Winona, Minn., wanted to record the opening talk of Pope Paul VI at the second session of the Council. Evidently Speltz was not a whiz at using a small tape recorder he snuck into the session. As the Holy Father started to speak the bishop pushed only one button instead of two to record. The result was that there was a demonstration tape in the recorder that belted out a John Philip Sousa march. Archbishop Hunthausen describes all the bishops in their area turning around and looking at the direction of the sound. Archbishp Hunthausen said he looked the other way and it was a year or two before Bishop Speltz ever was willing to look at a tape recorder again.

(Father Caswell is pastor of St. Rose of Lima Parish, Cheney, and is Ecumenical Relations Officer for the Diocese of Spokane. His reviews frequently appear in the Cheney Free Press.)

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