In the art bar at the RCA last night with Noam, we started discussing my recent obsession with the dematerialisation of super-villainy.
I haven’t seen the latest Bond movie, but Noam had – and he started talking about how there’s no travel in the new Bond. Or more correctly, there’s lots of travel, but no destinations.
Bond and his various nemeses live in the inter-zone, a bland Super-Cannes. As opposed to the Connery/Moore, hell – even Brosnan films, where you had long establishing shots of exotic destinations, you just feel like you are in the international late-capitalist nonplace.
We started talking about the Bourne movies, and how, particularly the first and the last are set in Schengen – a connected, border-less Mitteleurope that can be hacked and accessed and traversed – not without effort, but with determination, stolen vehicles and the right train timetables.
Again, the triumph of dematerialisation – but with a twist.
Rather than Bond’s private infrastructure expensive cars and toys, Bourne uses public infrastructure as a superpower.
A battered watch and an accurate U-Bahn time-table are all he needs for a perfectly-timed, death-defying evasion of the authorities.
As Rod has already pointed out:
“Jason Bourne is the man-as-weapon, never troubled by indecision or doubt, immediately responsive, unbalancing his enemies’ battlefield underneath them. He moves forward constantly, like a shark, and lives in a fast forward that’s the exact opposite of bullet-time – blurred fragments experienced at extraordinary speed – and his reactions are all reflex-fast”
But in addition, Bourne wraps cities, autobahns, ferries and train terminuses around him as the ultimate body-armour, in ways that Old Etonians could never even dream of.