Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is plucked from the water with bullet holes in his back and a bank account number embedded in his hip. He has no recollection of who he is, but he has a mysterious ability to be very good at a lot of things.
In order to try and piece together his past, he heads to the bank and finds a stash of money, foreign passports with his face and two guns. Leaving the guns, he heads to the American embassy realising he is being followed.
He escapes the embassy and hitches a ride with a gypsy woman named Marie to Paris to find his old house. As he gradually fits more of the puzzle that was his former life together, he must keep one step ahead of Treadstone, a rogue Government operation, that are trying to kill him.
The Bourne Identity is unlike many action movies. For a starter it is an intelligent and well-thought-out action thriller that manages to combine scenes of extremely fast-paced action with moments of such tension that it will cause one or two sweaty palms.
It is also unlike many spy movies, Bourne is not a typical secret agent. He doesn't have James Bond's suavity and doesn't describe his job as glamorous in any way. Throughout, only his work is mentioned and it is established that he must be a cold-hearted killer.
As the protagonist, Matt Damon proves that he is able to lead in a film that is a genre where he usually follows others (Oceans Eleven). Though intermittently on the officials at Treadstone, the camera is constantly following Damon making this one of his strongest roles in any of the films that he has ever acted in.
The film introduced the now-iconic soundtrack to the film. Moby's Extreme Ways became the signal to the end of the films and the background music cleverly describes the action.
The only downside to this film is that the next two in the trilogy both build on everything this one has done and better it. Despite this, you need to see this in order to get the best out of the trilogy.