A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Definitely some mixed messages here. On the one hand, the film shows government as corrupt and manipulative and the main character battles against it in order to be a good man and live a free life. On the other hand, the extraordinary fighting scenes are what makes this movie so watchable, so while the ideals of righteousness and purity are celebrated, so is violence.
Positive Role Models
Bourne is a tricky role model. As a reborn man, he sheds his past identity and whatever bad things he did along with it. His new self is a good, honest, caring man who happens to be an exceptionally good fighter. He puts himself on the line to protect good people, and defends himself against the bad -- to the point of death. If he lies or manipulates, it's only to serve good. But he still kills people...
Violence & Scariness
Many fighting scenes, mostly hand-to-hand combat, but also with guns and knives. Some blood but no gore, other than a close-up shot of bullets being removed from a body. Several characters are murdered assassination-style, one jumps out of a window to his death. Several tense scenes, including two where children are potentially at risk of violence.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One very intimate scene that turns into passionate kissing. Shirts come off, though no nudity, and then the camera pulls away.
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Strong language throughout, but not constant. A couple uses of "f--k," and "s--t," and a bit more of "hell," "Goddamn," and "for Christ's sake."
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Products & Purchases
Definite product placement of a Mini that includes some very fancy driving and a brief close-up of the brand name on the steering wheel. Background shot of Air France plane.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some smoking and drinking in the background in several scenes. A main character drinks liquor from a bottle one time in response to extreme stress.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Bourne Identity is a thrilling action movie that's packed with violence, including machine gun fights, intense hand-to-hand combat, a stabbing, and several glimpses of dead bodies with bullet holes or other wounds. Several scenes are packed with tension as the main characters evade police or other threats. Some angry confrontations turn violent. In one scene a character uses a dead body as a shield and a cushion for a long fall. The main characters embrace and kiss passionately in one scene without wearing shirts, though no nudity is shown. Language is strong, but not constant and includes "f--k," "bulls--t," and "Goddamn." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
What makes this thriller so good is Damon's ability to merge the physical with the emotional; he's strong, skilled, and smart, but he's also generous, honest, and tender. The scene when he dyes and cuts Marie's hair is incredibly intimate, made even more potent by the near silence of the scene. In fact, for an action movie, The Bourne Identity is remarkably quiet. Neither lead character talks much, but both command the screen nonetheless. Potente (of Run, Lola Run) is an edgy choice of a love interest because she's sexy in an offbeat way, not a typical American movie star type -- which gives the movie a refreshing touch of realism.
Aside from the characters, the fighting scenes, which incorporate a martial art called Krav Maga, among others, are especially watchable. Augmented by the miracles of filmmaking, Damon moves so fast while beating a foe to a pulp that one almost expects him to break into a slow-mo Matrix moment (but thankfully, he doesn't). Teens will want to gorge themselves on the fighting scenes, so even though the violence is tamer than many R-rated action movies, some reality checks and moderation are, of course, in order.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.