We were asked to write a speech talking about the value of studying the genre of spy films in my final English exam in 2004, focusing on "The Bourne Identity".

Essay by stella8h8changHigh School, 10th gradeA+, June 2005

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There are many reasons why young girls like you would watch a spy thriller such as "The Bourne Identity", most likely due to the rather star-studded cast it has. But, characterisation is not the only reason why studying spy films is so rewarding. Looking at its conventions and understanding them, then being able to apply them in future, is twice as rewarding. Look at the setting, the mood, the plot and the props for further examples of why the genre and this film is so entertaining.

Considering what conclusions your mind is jumping to now, I'll begin with the characters of "Bourne Identity". Matt Damon, as Jason Bourne, is our typical spy film hero. Not only does he have some slick, buff, droolworthy looks, caught by constant close-ups, he is also a skilled stuntsman - watch out for some on-screen action - and has a good heart.

Scenes where he lays aside guns and attacks only when provoked help the audience side with him immediately. Also, the fact that he is vulnerable from a force up above also evokes sympathy. How can you not pity a guy with amnesia? More on that later. The neat camera angles are positioned in such a way that during a particularly highly strung section, we are given a close-up shot of Jason and his fear, followed by a backtrack to where he was a moment before, with the baddies hot on his tail. Bourne's ordinary spy hero portrayal will have you rooting for him.

Speaking of the bad guys, the lighting can make them seem all the more evil. If you observe carefully, you will see that there is never a closeup of Conklin, the man who is in charge of killing Bourne. This makes him seem inhuman and emotionless, expected,