Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Bourne Legacy

"It is not good for the man to be alone..."  Gen. 2:18

In The Bourne Legacy, black ops agent Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) finds himself quite alone.

Cross is part of an international network of covert CIA agents spread out across the globe, but after Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) in the earlier movie trilogy exposed the Agency for its corruption and morally vacant tactics, that network is being shut down.

This means that all agents must be eliminated, but due to his increased stamina and heightened intelligence (by-products of his covert operation which have chemically changed his body and mind), Aaron has been able to survive the attack.  When a second drone is sent to kill him in the snowy wilderness of Alaska, he is able to fake his death and avoid further detection from the CIA.

And, in that moment, Aaron Cross is all alone.

Meanwhile, the CIA is also eliminating the scientists who created the chemical formula that fueled those seemingly-invincible covert operatives; and when one scientist, Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) survives that massacre, she too is all alone.

Fortunately, their loneliness does not last too long.  Aaron is able to track down Marta just in time to save her from yet another CIA-ordered attack.

They find, in short order, that they need each other.  Apart, each will inevitably die:  Marta has no training to go up against wiretappers, snipers, government agents, and hungry reporters out to get her without Aaron's special skills and creative evasion tactics; and Aaron will mentally implode without a viral cure that only Marta, with her scientific expertise, can provide.

"It is not good for the man to be alone," God says of Adam in the first chapters of Genesis (2:18).  The same goes for Aaron Cross, for Marta Shearing, and for any of us.  It is not good to be alone - and not because we will be hunted down by the CIA if we were to be.

What pains us when we see the Bourne movies, this one not withstanding, is how alone the protagonist seems to be.  Aaron and Marta, like Jason Bourne before them, are without support and far from the comforting embrace of a community or other kind-hearted souls. They must rely on their own ingenuity and expertise to make it through each moment of these movies.

So it is good that the two in this movie aren't completely alone.  They have each other, and hopefully, over time (i.e. sequels), they will find others to lean upon in times of need.

"I will not leave you alone," says Christ to the disciples at the Last Supper (John 14:18), "...and when this is over, you must come back and give strength to your brothers." (Luke 22:32)   Christ won't leave us alone, and this is possible by reliance on God and reliance on a community who loves us.  So, too, we must find those who will never abandon us - and we, in turn, must not abandon those whom God has given us in our lives.

For all his chemically-induced powers, Aaron Cross is nothing without Dr. Shearing.  And for all her intelligence and experience, she is powerless without him.  Who are those people in our lives who give strength to our weakness, and whom we strengthen in theirs?

It is not good for us to be alone, but in our culture of self-reliance and individuality, we can be tempted to forge our own way in the wilderness, like the cover operatives in the beginning of this film.  We can do it by ourselves, we fool ourselves into thinking.  But if that were the case, each of us would have our own planet upon which to exist.

Instead, God created us today with over seven billion other companions on this earth.  We are strongest when we do not run alone, when we look to the common good above our own, and when we strengthen and seek strength from one another.

In that spirit, let us pray for each other, and in our common prayer, we will never ever be alone again.

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