Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I'll Keep It Brief Since I Know You Won't Care

Most of you probably won't care what I thought about a pulp spy novel like The Bourne Identity, but since I love Chuck Klosterman-esque intelligent analysis of stupid pop culture, you'll just have to suffer. After the last few serious books, I thought I'd read something dumb and fun, and since I think The Bourne Identity, The Matrix, and Kill Bill Vol. 2 are the best-directed American action movies of the last several years, I picked up Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity. I think Franka Potente (Run Lola Run) is really good, and Bourne Identity proved beyond a doubt that Ben Affleck/Matt Damon movies like Good Will Hunting and Dogma are good because of Damon and not Affleck, so I thought if the book was anywhere near as good as the movie it would rock. It was certainly enjoyable, but no masterpiece. (Is that a surprise? We are talking about a bestseller spy novel here.) But even in the realm of spy novels, I didn't think it was great. To start, Potente was a far more independent and intriguing love-interest than that of the novel, and there was only one instance where I thought "ha, that's nice/witty writing" (a line about a fat wad of cash leading to "levels of obsequiousness not seen since the palace of Versailles.") The other mildly interesting thing is how the book managed to leave out Carlos the Jackal, who in the book is a hugely important character in a complicated triangle with the CIA and Bourne, and the movie only mentions Bourne and the CIA. I could try and say something meaningful about the differences between books and their movies, but I won't. I started reading Samantha Power's The Problem from Hell about America's consistent non-response to genocide, so I'll probably have something more meaningful to say soon.

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