• Death and the maiden a la Hitchcock

Since watching The Bourne Legacy last week, I’ve had Alfred Hitchcock’s Topaz (1969) on the brain, as both films could be described as decentralized espionage films. Each is structured in such a way that the main character doesn’t come into focus until nearly halfway through; the emphasis is on the network, how the activities of different agents working in different places create narrative patterns more easily recognizable by the audience than by the characters. Fritz Lang’s Spies remains the gold standard for this type of filmmaking, but Topaz and Bourne Legacy, each one flawed but interesting, manage some nifty variations on the tradition.