Jason Bourne in Paris

Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in <em>The Bourne Identity</em> (2002).

Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity (2002).

It was one degree above freezing when I went out to my car this morning. Since we don’t appear to have a fall season this year (at least not in Pittsburgh), here is the next Bourne article, ripe with tips on how to layer up for winter without looking like Randy in A Christmas Story – who, unfortunately, will never be featured in one of these posts.

Vitals

Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, ex-CIA assassin on the run

Paris, Winter 2002

Film: The Bourne Identity
Release Date: June 14, 2002
Director: Doug Liman
Costume Designer: Pierre-Yves Gayraud

Background

After Bourne realizes his identity (as you would expect him to in a film called The Bourne Identity), he begins dressing in a manner that allows him to be practical and blend in while still looking respectable enough to access offices and decent hotels.

He wears simple clothing with plenty of space for concealment of weaponry or tools. His clothing needs to be something he can wear to scale a building, fight an assassin to the death, and check into a hotel – all in the same night. Furthermore, black is a good color for self-concealment; wearing black hides you when it’s dark out and also masks blood, dirt, or other stains that come natural to an amnesiac ex-assassin trying to dodge a massive government agency.

What’d He Wear?

After his first night in Paris with Marie, Bourne has the freedom to completely choose his apparel for the first time in the film. Likely knowing that he will need to blend in but be out in the open, Bourne selects a knee-length black overcoat, a black commando-style sweater, black jeans, and black boots. This will become, essentially, his uniform.

The Sweaters

When Marie wakes up, she sees Bourne sitting across from her in the black sweater and jeans. This sweater is a very military style, with epaulettes and shoulder patches for insulation and shooting. The military style of the sweater reflects Bourne’s Army background and training, specifically referred to in The Bourne Ultimatum. In my opinion, this was the perfect sweater for Bourne in terms of style and character, but I guess his neck was getting cold because the next day, he switches into a turtleneck.

Does Bourne EVER smile in any of these movies? Even Matt Damon himself is in disbelief at the sight, as seen in the photo on the right.

When going to the Paris shipping office the next day, Bourne wears a different sweater that he will wear up until the finale. This is a much different style of sweater – a grayish blue ribbed mock turtleneck. It would take a very self-assured (and fit) man to wear a sweater like this, especially without a jacket.

Not smiling now, is he?

Everything Else

The staple of Bourne’s outfit in the films is his overcoat. In The Bourne Identity, this is a charcoal black single-breasted overcoat with 3 buttons, and straight flapped hip pockets. There is a light brown lining on the inside as well as underneath the lapels, cuffs, and pocket flaps.

Bourne also wears black Lee jeans and black Timberland Euro Hiker boots. He will wear these boots again in The Bourne Supremacy and will wear an updated pair of Euro Hiker 2.0s in The Bourne Ultimatum.

On his wrist he wears his Swiss watch – a Tag Heuer Link Quartz Chronograph with a silver bracelet, round silver bezel, and black face. Like the boots, he wears this same watch throughout the series.

I think poor Bourne had to wear this same thing three or four days in a row. Despite the cold, all the running and fighting probably would’ve made that sweater pretty smelly.

Hey, Now This Is Weird!

The second day in Paris, when Bourne is wearing the black sweater and overcoat, he is shown making various calls with Marie. In one scene, he is in a phone booth wearing the dark brown jacket (I guess he didn’t burn it!) and a light gray T-shirt never seen anywhere else in the film. Directly after he gets the information he was looking for, he walks out to talk to Marie while in the black sweater and overcoat.

WAT?!?!?!

Let’s give the filmmakers the benefit of the doubt here. Perhaps Bourne is OCD and has “phone call clothes” like Teddy Roosevelt’s “signing clothes” in Arsenic and Old Lace. (If you’ve never seen Arsenic and Old Lace, please stop listening to Drake or Justin Bieber or whoever, and go develop some taste).

Maybe he was embarrassed to tell Marie about his OCD, so he slipped out of the overcoat and sweater and into the jacket and T-shirt, then put the overcoat and sweater back on again afterwards. This is the only possible explanation, other than a continuity error. I prefer the OCD theory as it would validate my writing a whole section about ten relatively unimportant seconds of an action movie.

Go Big or Go Home

By the time he has re-established himself in Paris, Bourne’s take-charge persona has replaced the unsure young man who stepped off of the fishing boat and hoofed it to Switzerland. He makes split-second decisions – good ones at that – and is able to defend himself whether with his hands or a firearm. To start working on a Bourne-like ability with firearms, from handguns to shotguns, it would be worthwhile to invest in a few classes at a local shooting range. This is likely what Bourne did, so don’t think that playing Call of Duty for a few hours each night makes you a trained government agent.

Bourne is better with guns than the 12-year-old you just yelled at while playing Call of Duty. He is also better than you.

In addition to the whole gun thing, Bourne is able to beat up every trained agent sent his way. Damon trained with Jeff Imada, a Kali/Jeet Kune Do expert. Thus, Bourne uses a combination of Filipino Eskrima/Kali and Jeet Kune Do, the martial arts practice popularized by Bruce Lee, as his fighting style, not – as it is commonly and incorrectly believed – Krav Maga. Hit the gym and take a few classes.

Can you speak any languages? Most people I meet can barely speak English in its intended form. In the first film, Bourne knows English, French, German, and Dutch, and shows off his prowess with other languages in the others. Pick up a Rosetta Stone, Berlitz, or Pimsleur program or something to try and match it. Once you can insult yourself in a mirror while speaking Dutch, you’re halfway there.

John Powell’s soundtrack is a worthy investment, especially for driving around in the car on an overcast or snowy day.

Bourne isn’t a drinker, but given the situation he’s in, I’m not sure that even I’d have time for a libation either. The literary Bourne in Ludlum’s The Bourne Identity has plenty of whiskey, though, so if you want something to imbibe, go for a whiskey on the rocks or a glass of Bordeaux, like the bottle Bourne keeps in his kitchen in the film.

Although, as we also learn in Spy Game:

  • Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt): “I thought spies drank Martinis.”
  • Nathan Muir (Robert Redford): “Scotch, never less than twelve years old.”

A good rule to live by, although some swear that eighteen years is their minimum. If your wallet can dictate such a rule, go for it and hire me at your company while you’re at it.

How to Get the Look

Bourne maintains a simple look through the series – dark colors that allow him to blend in without being too monochromatic.

After he takes charge of his attire (and LIFE!), Bourne’s clothes are more fitted than the looser clothing worn in Switzerland.

  • Black knee-length single-breasted 3-button wool overcoat with slim notch lapels, straight flapped hip pockets, and a light brown lining inside and under the lapels
  • Grayish-blue ribbed mock turtleneck sweater
  • Black commando-style ribbed wool sweater with epaulettes and shoulder patches
  • Black jeans – Bourne wore Lee jeans in the film
  • Black socks
  • Black hiking boots – Bourne wore Timberland Euro Hikers throughout the series
  • Tag Heuer Link Quartz Chronograph CT1111.BA0550 with a silver bracelet, round silver bezel, and black face
  • Olive green sleeveless A-style undershirt

The Gun

Bourne uses a double-barreled shotgun borrowed from Marie’s brother-in-law to defeat both a CIA sniper and an unlucky gas tank. He takes a Walther P5 from the dead assassin for the film’s final act. Chambered in 9×19 mm, the P5 was developed to replace the aging and anemic 7.62 mm and 7.65 mm handguns carried by the German police. It was first produced in 1977.

Like the earlier Walther P38, which the P5 could arguably be called an offspring of, the P5 is a recoil-operated, locked-breech, double-action semi-automatic in 9×19 mm. As the photo shows, the P5 differs from most pistols by ejecting its spent casings to the left. This made it an appealing firearm for left-handed shooters.

A compact version, creatively named the Walther P5 Compact, was a shorter and lighter version. In the 1980s, many were sent to the Royal Irish Regiment of the British Army and 14 Intelligence Company, both serving in Ireland.

The Walther P5, the 1970s’ love child of the PPK and the P38.

The P5 also had a brief afternoon in the sun when it replaced James Bond’s iconic Walther PPK in not one, but two 007 movies released in 1983. Both Roger Moore and Sean Connery carried the P5 in Octopussy and Never Say Never Again, respectively, with Moore even telling Q, “I’ve mislaid my PPK.” However, this was the P5’s only moment of glory in the Bond series and by the next film (the atrocious A View to a Kill), Bond’s PPK was back.

Do Yourself A Favor And…

Buy the movie.

http://www.amazon.com/Bourne-Identity-Widescreen-Collectors-Edition/dp/B00003CXXM

The Quote

I swear to God, if I even feel somebody behind me, there is no measure to how fast and how hard I will bring this fight to your doorstep. I’m on my own side now.

14 comments

    • luckystrike721

      Thanks, Max! Dirty Harry is on the agenda, but I’ll expedite it now that I know you’ll be on the lookout for it. Only Clint Eastwood could make a standard Jim Tressel sweater vest look badass (although the .44 Magnum might help too…)

      Like

      • Max

        Too true! I can do the Baloramas with plaid tweed and brown v-neck, but the gray on red is too BAMF for me. Still trying to find the holster for less than $400 . . .

        Like

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  6. Mimi

    Can you do Marie now? I’d like to know more about her clothes and what was in that little bottle of booze she was drinking in the car after Bourne leaves her alone.

    Like

    • luckystrike721

      A few people have asked about whether or not I’d cover women’s clothing; my only hesitation is that I don’t know much about it. Marie would be a fine place for me to start though, as she pulls off a very BAMF look using relatively gender-neutral attire.
      I’ve tried several times to figure out what her bottle is but to no avail. Perhaps if I get the Blu-Ray version and/or find a production still taken from a different angle.
      Thanks for writing!

      Like

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