Matt Damon in Jason Bourne
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne/David Webb, amnesiac ex-CIA assassin
Athens, Berlin, London, and Las Vegas, Fall 2015
Film: Jason Bourne
Release Date: July 11, 2016
Director: Paul Greengrass
Costume Designer: Mark Bridges
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Happy 50th birthday, Matt Damon! Nearly 15 years after the actor first kicked cinematic ass as the amnesiac assassin, Damon again stepped into Jason Bourne’s globe-trotting boots for one more installment of the spy franchise extolled for its relative realism, intriguing narrative, and expertly choreographed fight scenes.
I remember… I remember everything.
The Bourne Identity had begun by establishing our protagonist’s suite of espionage skills despite any lack of memory, which Jason Bourne subverts by depicting his clearer recollections of giving up his life as U.S. Army Captain David Webb to serve a shadowy government sub-agency as sleeper assassin Jason Bourne. Though The Bourne Legacy starring Jeremy Renner had been released in the interim since The Bourne Ultimatum, this continuation wisely slides past the shadow of Renner’s lesser-received Aaron Cross and picks up with the more familiar face of the series’ title character, more than a decade after he went off the map following the events of Ultimatum, and now living in exile as a bareknuckle fighter.
What’d He Wear?
We meet the stubbed and scarred, salt-and-pepper haired Jason Bourne on the Greek-Albanian border, spending his days in bareknuckle bouts and dressed as he had in his earlier life as David Webb, clad in a drab zip-up hoodie over an undershirt. He strips off the top layer—which includes a well-worn brown leather jacket—for his first match, dressed to brawl in just his tan cotton cargo pants with a wide dark brown leather belt.
Hmm, a brown leather jacket over a zip-up hoodie and undershirt… where have we seen that before in the Bourne canon? Ah, yes- Karl Urban sported a similar look as the FSB killer Kirill, stalking Bourne through Moscow in The Bourne Supremacy. (In the same movie, Bourne himself had been mistakenly described as wearing a “black coat, possibly leather,” though it wasn’t until the events of Jason Bourne that the erstwhile David Webb was actually seen on screen wearing a leather jacket.)
The jacket stays, but Bourne swaps out the rest of his outfit once he’s pulled back into the world of espionage, meeting with former associate Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) in Athens to collect her files illustrating his past as well as his father’s involvement in the clandestine CIA program that doomed Bourne to a life of danger.
“Look at yourself, look at what you’re doing… you can’t live like this much longer,” Nicky counsels Bourne, echoing advice he’d received much earlier.
The Syntagma Square anti-government demonstrations provide decent cover for Bourne and Parsons’ covert meeting, but it also sadly adds enough cover that the CIA asset (Vincent Cassel) called in can easily assassinate Nicky among the increasing violence between the police and the protestors. Bourne’s nondescript outfit helps him blend in among all sides of the demonstration, and he’s able to make his escape on a stolen police motorcycle… after expertly overpowering two agents, of course.
Bourne establishes in Athens the outfit that he will continue to wear for the majority of Jason Bourne‘s duration: a brown leather jacket, navy long-sleeved pullover shirt, dark jeans, and brown boots.
Bourne travels through Europe in a brown leather zip-front jacket made from a rugged, durable hide made suppler with age and wear as evident by its well-traveled patina. The style could be described as a simplified “cafe racer” jacket, detailed with a short standing collar without snaps or tabs and no chest pockets, just a slanted hand pocket on each side with a zip closure.
If you’re looking for a Bourne-style jacket, you could seek out a no-frills moto jacket like this Alex Brown jacket (via TheJacketMaker), this Calvin Klein jacket (via Amazon), or this Cole Haan jacket (via Macy’s). As with most newly released movies—particularly action movies—replica makers were quick to market their own, suspiciously underpriced replicas of Bourne’s jacket like this one available from Amazon.
Characteristically, Bourne’s wardrobe was carefully selected to give him every tactical advantage, subdued enough to fit in while also versatile and utilitarian enough that he can rely on it in any situation. While not technically oversized, the jacket’s generous fit and hip length provide Bourne the freedom to cycle through different weights of layers and, of course, to conceal a firearm more easily than he could with a shorter or slimmer-fitting jacket.
Bourne’s jacket is reinforced at the shoulders, with seams tapering in from the set-in sleeve heads to meet the base of the standing collar at the neck. The cuffs are left plain with no errant zippers, buttons, or tabs that could get caught in mid-action and impede Bourne’s progress.
Beginning in Greece, Bourne continues his long-standing tradition of not wearing collared shirts (aside from the burgundy short-sleeved pique polo in the 1999 flashbacks to lunch with his father) by dressing in a navy blue waffle-woven thermal cotton long-sleeved henley shirt, detailed with a three-button placket at the top.
Between Athens and Berlin, Bourne adapts to the cooler oceanic climate of the German capital by swapping out his henley for a similarly toned navy crew-neck shirt, also long-sleeved and lightweight but with more chest coverage and without anything that could be leveraged—like a flapping placket at the neck—by an enemy in mid-fight, indicating that Bourne is well-aware that he’s now dressing for action again.
Bourne’s jeans mark the first time we see him wearing blue jeans since he had borrowed a baggy pair from the Mediterranean fishermen at the start of The Bourne Identity. The signature arcuate stitching on the back pockets confirms that our all-American former assassin is wearing Levi’s jeans, despite the removal of the familiar red tab from the inside of the right back pocket. (Pairs of screen-worn Levi’s that were worn by Matt Damon and his stunt double Ben Dimock remain available on eBay as of October 2020.)
In Greece, he wears a pair of more faded dark blue denim Levi’s with a heavy black leather belt, though he changes into a pair of darker indigo wash jeans by the time he’s jumping from a London rooftop several days—and countries—later.
Bourne cycles through several different sets of boots, all lace-up ankle-high boots with brown leather upper construction. In the Greek-set scenes, he’s wearing dark brown hiking boots with an apron-style toebox, heavy lugged outsoles, and metal “speed lacing” rather than traditional eyelets. The quarters appear to be napped as opposed to the oiled leather across the toe boxes.
One he’s in England, Bourne has changed into a more sophisticated pair of plain-toe chukka boots made from a light brown suede. A Dappered article suggested that these resemble the two-eyelet Timberland Earthkeepers City Chukka boots with brown oiled leather uppers and black lugged outsoles (still available on Amazon), though Bourne’s boots appear to have three sets of brass-grommeted lace eyelets rather than two.
There may be other boots still, as he seems to be wearing a pair of darker oiled leather boots with black rubber outsoles—detailed with small red centerpieces that may give a clue to their manufacturer—while confronting the “hacktivist” whistleblower Christian Dassault (Vinzenz Kiefer) in Berlin.
Bourne again turns to his trusty TAG Heuer for his timekeeping needs, though his chosen chronograph takes a sportier direction than the link-bracelet wristwatch from the earlier trilogy. In this installment, Damon wears a TAG Heuer Formula 1 Chronograph, identified on the watchuseek.com forum as model CAU1114.FT6024. (No longer in the TAG Heuer stable, you can see the Swiss brand’s existing lineup of Formula 1 motorsport watches here, and the occasional CAU1114.FT6024 makes its way to Amazon.)
Water-resistant to 200 meters (or 660 feet), this quartz-powered watch has a black titanium carbide-coated steel 42mm case and fixed bezel, strapped to a branded black ridged rubber bracelet that closes through a plain steel double-folding deployment buckle. Protected by scratch-resistant sapphire crystal—which no doubt comes in handy during those multi-story falls—the round black dial features three black sub-registers and a date window at the 4:00 position.
As Bourne’s old world comes crashing back to him on a more personal level than expected, he finds an unlikely ally in the form of the CIA’s new head of cyber operations, Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander), whose principled and idealist approach to her work has her challenging the agency’s wish—driven by director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones)—to have Bourne eliminated.
Perhaps to signal Heather’s ideological alliance with Bourne, she’s dressed similarly in her own dark brown leather zip-front jacket and navy long-sleeved shirt when she arrives in London.
From London, Bourne travels to Las Vegas, perhaps as extreme an antipode from the capital of the UK as it gets. His arrival in Sin City calls for a changed wardrobe, though he stays true to his subdued self rather than dressing in Ace Rothstein‘s pastel silks.
Indeed, Bourne’s Vegas vestments are consistent with the dark, layered style we’ve come to expect. His top layer is a dark navy blue lightweight jersey-knit quarter-zip pullover, another callback to his early style in The Bourne Identity when the Mediterranean fishermen had dressed him in an admittedly bulkier rust-toned quarter-zip. He wears this over a dark navy T-shirt with short sleeves that print under the pullover’s long sleeves. Little else of Bourne’s wardrobe has changed as he’s certainly wearing the same TAG Heuer watch, brown plain-toe ankle boots, and even the same dark blue Levi’s jeans, carrying his SIG Sauer sidearm tucked into the rear waistband.
To both hide his face and fit in with the rest of the conference attendees at ExoCon 2016 where Dewey is expected to speak alongisde shady tech CEO Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed), Bourne dons a black ExoCon-branded baseball cap that marks the first time we’ve ever seen him actively don a disguise beyond his reliance on nondescript clothing.
The denouement connects one-time allies Bourne and Heather Lee on a late fall day in Washington, D.C. Enough time has passed for Bourne to pick up some new threads, though he again doesn’t deviate from his preferred aesthetic, wearing what appears to be a black waxed cotton jacket over a black crew-neck long-sleeved T-shirt.
The thigh-length jacket has a double-snap standing collar and a fly front that can be closed by zipper and/or snap poppers, all with black leather trim. There is a vertical zip-entry pocket flanking each side of the fly over the chest and flapped patch pockets below the cinched waist, each detailed with an open “handwarmer” pocket behind it. The shoulders are horizontally yoked across the front and back, and the set-in sleeves appear to only have a short semi-tab to adjust the fit over each cuff.
Bourne’s fists are his primary weapons for the first 20 or so minutes of the movie, though—when the true danger begins—our well-trained firearms expert takes the first opportunity to arm himself.
Aware that CIA assassins are following him through the Syntagma Square demonstrations, Bourne grabs a Molotov cocktail from a rioter and smashes it on the ground to create a diversion, taking advantage of his pursuers’ disorientation by proactively attacking them and disarming an agent of his Heckler & Koch USP pistol… which he eventually drops after gaining the attention of the Athens police.
This German semi-automatic pistol was introduced in the mid-1990s, initially for the newly developed .40 S&W cartridge though a variety of calibers (9mm, .357 SIG, and .45 ACP), configurations, and sizes were made available over the decades to follow, whether a shooter was looking for concealment, combat, or competition. This model had previously appeared as the favored weapon of Bourne’s enemy Desh (Joey Ansah) in The Bourne Ultimatum, where the rival assassin carried a suppressed and smaller-sized H&K USP Compact Tactical during his fight with Bourne in Morocco.
The H&K USP model that Bourne briefly handles here in Athens appears to be a standard USP9, a full-sized, traditional double action (DA/SA) service pistol with a 15-round box magazine of 9×19 mm Parabellum ammunition.
In her final moments, Nicky tosses Bourne the key to an Athens depot locker, where he finds not only the USB drive loaded with black ops files but also a SIG Sauer P226R, an evolution of the Swiss manufacturer’s flagship service pistol fitted with a Picatinny rail under the barrel (hence the “R” in the pistol’s designation.)
SIG Sauer was established early on as the unofficial firearm brand of the Bourne universe, with Damon himself primarily handling SIG Sauer pistols in all three original installments of the series before arming himself with the P226 in Jason Bourne.
The P226 was developed in the early 1980s, when it was entered into the XM9 trials to compete for the U.S. military contract. Though Beretta won the American contract with its 92FS design, the U.S. Navy was particularly fond of the SIG Sauer pistol and adopted the P226 for Navy SEALs, following adoption by the German Naval Special Forces Command. In the decades to follow, the double-action P226 with its double-stack magazine formed the basis for a range of offspring, varying in size, caliber, action, and finish.
In the 2000s, the P226R variant was added to the lineup with a Picatinny rail under the barrel for accessories like lights or laser sights. As of 2020, the rail is now a standard feature to the degree that SIG Sauer no longer designates it the “P226R” and markets the entire line as just the P226.
Bourne manages to get his P226R across European borders, wielding it most notably when he confronts the former Treadstone surveillance chief Malcolm Smith (Bill Camp) on a London rooftop.
Bourne evidently had to abandon his P226R before heading to the U.S., though he gets his hands on another by knocking out one of Dewey’s agents in an Aria restroom, sticking the agent’s P226R in the back of his jeans.
How to Get the Look
We’ve evolved from the Jason Bourne of the 2000s who tended to layer a dark overcoat (or Harrington jacket, as in The Bourne Ultimatum) over plain crew-neck shirts and sweaters, as the character now wears a less monochromatic and more versatile and rugged outfit anchored by a brown leather jacket, blue jeans, and boots.
- Brown rugged leather moto-style jacket with standing collar, zip-up front, slanted zip hand pockets, and set-in sleeves with plain cuffs
- Navy blue cotton long-sleeved shirt, either 3-button thermal henley or crew-neck T-shirt
- Dark blue denim Levi’s jeans
- Black leather belt
- Dark brown leather lace-up ankle boots with lugged soles
- Black cotton lisle socks
- TAG Heuer Formula 1 CAU1114.FT6024 Chronograph in black titanium carbide-finished steel with fixed bezel and black dial (with 4:00 date window) on black ridged rubber strap
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie. I was certainly entertained by it, though watching it primarily just made me nostalgic to revisit the original Bourne trilogy as Jason Bourne lacked the unique touch that screenwriter Tony Gilroy had brought to those three. Thankfully, we still have the familiar score by John Powell that adds a sense of continuity across the myriad tension, chases, and fights. The locations also nod to the trilogy, and even the concept of a Las Vegas showdown between Matt Damon and Vincent Cassel mirrors a climactic rooftop scene in Ocean’s Thirteen.
While the original Bourne trilogy had revolutionized action movies for the 2000s—its influence extending to the James Bond franchise, particularly evident in Quantum of Solace—the innovation seems to have dissipated by Jason Bourne, which now followed the two latest 007 installments by incorporating themes of family legacy (Skyfall) and the dangerous segue of hacking into a surveillance state (Spectre). In fact, our Greek-exiled hero sends his days “enjoying death” while wearing a worn brown leather jacket as Daniel Craig did in Skyfall!
All that matters is staying alive.
Originally, Bourne/Webb was meant to be no more than a few weeks older than Matt Damon himself with the birthday of September 13, 1970 provided in the original series. Jason Bourne inexplicably updates this to make the character eight years younger, born June 4, 1978 though retaining Nixa, Missouri, as his place of birth. (Based on his service record, appearance, and astrological temperament, I’m inclined to stick with the September 13, 1970 birthdate.)
Thank you for yet another great article! I prefer the rough Bourne over Bond, thanks to his cynical state of mind and no-nonsense action.
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