Steven Barrie-Anthony at 12:22 PM on August 10, 2007.
Steven Barrie-Anthony: The most compelling aspect of this very compelling film is that the premise doesn't seem very far-fetched, at all.
This post, written by Steven Barrie-Anthony, originally appeared on The Huffington Post
In The Bourne Ultimatum, amnesiac superspy Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) finally confronts the CIA schemers responsible for erasing his memory and reprogramming him as the ideal assassin.
Audiences flocked to watch Bourne on opening weekend -- it was the biggest August opening ever, taking in over $70 million -- and the most compelling aspect of this very compelling film is that the premise doesn't seem very far-fetched, at all.
Indeed, the story's only major fictional element is its depiction of successful CIA attempts to create a hypnotized breed of remote-controllable super-soldier. The rest -- the torturous "brainwashing" process, the ruined lives, and eventually, victims seeking answers and retribution -- has all happened before. (Read the Alternet article)
But the point the Alternet article makes about government "brainwashing" is not my point in bringing up the Bourne film. Further into the Alternet article there's this:
Whether or not audiences are aware of the literal truthfulness of the Bourne premise, the notion that an authoritarian-leaning American administration and intelligence agency might abuse the trust of its public and trample the constraints of its charter is clearly more fact than fiction. For the latest Bush administration trampling of civil liberties, check your newspaper of choice. So there's some primal satisfaction in watching Bourne wreak havoc on the government that wronged him.
The film has the feel of truth. All of the technology that we see is possible: the room full of men at computers, tracking individuals movements by their cell phones and cameras on the street. I said so to my husband when we came out of the movie theater.
The film left me exhilarated, but it also left me thinking: How much of this is happening in the CIA and FBI today with impunity? How far does our government go, without our knowing it, to, in the name of fighting terrorists, track down individuals, seize them, question and torture them, terminate them. Is it happening right now?
The Bush government makes me think so.