The Bourne Identity (2002) revitalized the action genre in thrilling, consequential fashion. Matt Damon's "Jason Bourne"—an alias for a man with no memory, but a ferocious set of fighting skills—upped the ante for gritty, imaginative, pulse-pounding action as well as emotional depth and sophistication, leading to a hugely successful franchise.
The Bourne Identity was directed by Doug Liman, whose background in indie film (Swingers, Go) made him the perfect filmmaker to reinvent the genre. For the score, Liman found a willing partner in John Powell, who had started his career working for Hans Zimmer. But Powell, too, wanted to try something different from his previous action films (Face/Off).
With Liman's encouragement, Powell innovated an intimate, novel score from electronics, solo bassoon and strings that captured the film's anxiety, grittiness and existential mystery—with a propulsive "motor" theme that became the franchise's signature. Heavily improvised and shaped by digital technology, the music nonetheless captures the human heart of the film's protagonist—and as always with Powell, is executed with great subtlety and taste.
For this new album of The Bourne Identity, Powell has personally assembled a new, expanded program which he calls a "Tumescent Edition"—showcasing the evolution of some of the film's cues, as chronicled by Brian Satterwhite in new liner notes.
- Varese Sarabande