A History Of Violence: It’s hard not to hold shakycam against the otherwise terrific Bourne Supremacy

With A History Of Violence, Tom Breihan picks the most important action movie of every year, starting with the genre’s birth and moving right up to whatever Vin Diesel’s doing this very minute.

The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

Paul Greengrass didn’t invent shakycam. The technique of frantic handheld camerawork and chaotic editing had been around for decades—first as an experimental film technique, then as a sort of action-movie shortcut—before Greengrass directed The Bourne Supremacy in 2004. In ’60s movies like The Battle Of Algiers, it was there for veracity, to lend documentary-film immediacy to the action onscreen. In ’90s action movies like The Rock, it was there to make a big, loud, noisy movie even bigger and louder and noisier. In The Bourne Supremacy, Greengrass somehow did both. He used choppy filmmaking to mimic the immediate discombobulating effects of violence, to show how real-life fights and …

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