This is the first in a three part series exploring the salvific movement of the Matt Damon starring Bourne trilogy. Parts 2 and 3 will post on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
The Bourne Identity is the first in a three film sequence concerned with the trials of Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) as he tries to remember who he is. In this first film, Jason wakes up after being plucked from the sea by a fishing vessel. He doesn’t know who he is or how he got there, but he soon learns that he possesses a unique set of skills which make him very adept at combat and survival. Jason also finds himself at the center of an intense game of cat and mouse as malicious forces constantly try to hunt him down.
And that’s basically the thrust of the entire series – Jason Bourne wants to figure out who he is while people are trying to kill him. On a deeper level though, the series is about much, much, much more than that, at least in my opinion. SPOILERS follow.
Now, I don’t like to say what a work of art “means.” Honestly, I think we read too much into artwork instead of just letting art read us. So, as I continue and explain how The Bourne Identity resonates with me, understand that I am not saying the movie is “about” this. This is just what I see in the story.
Jason Bourne doesn’t know who he is. He is struggling to find his identity. I may know my name and my origin, but I too am struggling for identity. I am trying to distinguish who I should be, who I was made to be, who God wants me to be. Like an amnesiac, I don’t know who I am, or at least, I used to didn’t know who I was. I have an identity now. I found my identity in Christ, and part of that identity is very similar to the identity Jason Bourne learns belongs to him.
Jason Bourne figures out that he is killer. He is a trained weapon for the CIA. He is not a good person. He doesn’t do what is right. As Marie, the girl in the story, says, “No one does the right thing.” Once Jason learns what he is, he tries to change, but his past is hot on his trail.
I too learned that I was a sinner. I may not have murdered anyone, but I have hated, and according to Christ, that’s the same thing. I am a liar, a thief, an adulterer. I too desire to do right, but it’s so hard. My past keeps catching up with me and forcing me to sin again.
My favorite moment in the story is when Jason catches up to one of the assassins trying to kill him. Jason overcomes him, but as the assassin is dying, he looks at Jason and says, “Look at us. Look at what they make you give.” The assassins have been forced to give up their humanity. Likewise, as I sin I give up my humanity.
At the end of the film, Jason finally catches up/is caught by his pursuers, the people who made him what he is. As he finally grasps exactly who he is, the killer he has become, he tells them, “Jason Bourne is dead. You’re gonna tell ’em, ‘Jason Bourne is dead,'” and then he walks out into a new kind of life.
As I learned of my sin, I too had to die to myself, and then I too stepped into a new world and a new way of living with Christ.
Let me be clear, The Bourne Identity is not intentional Christian allegory. It is a story about a CIA assassin whose mind breaks and is chased by the people who created him, but in his story I saw myself, and I understood my relationship with Christ better.
As Jason Bourne learned his identity, I was reminded of my own.