Watch: A ‘Bourne Supremacy’ Shot Breakdown
It’s all so quick. A face is spotted on a computer screen, interest is roused, research is done, and a connection is made. The whole transaction takes a few seconds–and yet it’s a few seconds in which you may be so absorbed that you forget to breathe. Or at least this is the desired effect, in Paul Greengrass’s ‘The Bourne Supremacy
,’ as CIA officer Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) begins to piece together who Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is, and what his significance might be. This would be a difficult moment to narrate, given its complexity and also the need to move the plot forward at a consistently breakneck speed. Corey Creekmur’s excellent video essay breaks the short sequence down into 39 shots–of files, computer screens, and Landy’s facial expressions–all of which speed us onward as they blend together seamlessly. The piece is dedicated to critic and scholar David Bordwell, an homage to his idea of "intensified continuity
," or the trend in recent filmmaking to speed up and amplify the cutting and editing techniques that have been used for decades in Hollywood films.