Joe Wright took a break from directing tony literary adaptations (PRIDE & PREJUDICE, ATONEMENT, ANNA KARENINA) to have a stab at this Pop action piece. It’s like a junior-league BOURNE project about a DNA-altered teen (Saoirse Ronan) who leaves her polar training camp to hunt down the CIA operative responsible for the program. Cate Blanchett, with an on-and-off Dixie Carter accent, has a jolly time playing the smooth villainess, and Eric Bana is hunky & sympathetic as father-figure to the girl, but nothing in here seems worth all the bother. Wright throws in lots of stylish sets & camera moves, but everything looks fashionable rather than dangerous or exciting. And though he lays on creepy ambient sound effects, trying for some of that Stanley Kubrick atmospheric mojo, he hasn’t got the action chops to make much of the chases & violence. Too often, he elides the pivotal shot needed to carry us from Point A to Point B, even botching the big fun-house finale. And do we ever really swallow willowy Saoirse Ronan as a strong, ruthless killing machine? The only tough thing about this kid is pronouncing her first name.
WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: Many find the slice & dice editing of the BOURNE pics distracting, but the second in the series, THE BOURNE SUPREMACY/’04, works awfully well.