Matt Damon, an actor with an authentic play

August 24, 2022715 min
Matt Damon au photocall du film Stillwater (Hors compétition) lors du 74ème festival international du film de Cannes le 9 juillet 2021 © Borde / Jacovides / Moreau / Bestimage

The film “Death in the Skin”, second opus of the excellent franchise Jason Bourne, is not stingy in action scenes and fights of great quality. Its director Paul Greengrass, a fervent promoter of realism in cinema, was also able to count on a real left sent by Matt Damon to Tim Griffin, which left the latter in a daze…

Already 20 years ago, in the film, The Memory in the Skin upsets the action cinema. With Matt Damon in the role of Jason Bourne, an amnesiac CIA assassin on the run, Doug Liman directed an ultra-realistic action-spy thriller based on a screenplay by Tony Gilroy – adapted from the novels of Robert Ludlum. It was a worldwide success, and The Bourne Identity provides the perfect recipe for a high quality action movie in the 21st century. The same recipe was applied to a direct sequel. It was released in 2004 and was judged superior to the first film: Death in the Skin.

Not knowing his identity, Jason Bourne now knows what he is capable of. And he makes maximum use of his skills in The Bourne Movie. Having no leads after Marie’s death, he deliberately decides to get himself arrested at the Naples airport. This way, he will know who in Langley is in charge of tracking him down and why.

Grace’s scene is a memorable sequence in Death in the Skin. Using his passport in the name of Jason Bourne at the Naples airport, he is immediately locked in an interrogation room, where local CIA agent John Nevins (Tim Griffin) is quickly sent. Without fail, once in the same room, Jason Bourne violently stuns his guard and Agent Nevins. He copies the SIM card from the latter’s phone, which allows him to discover that Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) is leading his hunt, and which also gives him his next destination: Berlin.

Paul Greengrass tells in the audio commentary of the film (from 29’50), the last blow that Matt Damon takes to Tim Griffin was really delivered, which directly knocked him out and sent him to the ground.

This scene is veridical and unbelievable, it’s that this punch, which sends poor Nevins to the ground, was real. It really knocked him out. When he came to his senses, he asked me, “Were you able to film that?” I was afraid he would get a broken nose, or some other injury, because it was a hell of a hit! But it worked. It makes the scene very realistic.

Tim Griffin came out of it without too much physical damage. Was he too close, or did Matt Damon get too far ahead? We will probably never know. But it is obvious that the incident gives authenticity to this perfect sequence of Death in the Skin.

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