World in Action: A Paul Greengrass Retrospective

With Jason Bourne arriving this week, we’re looking back on the career of director Paul Greengrass. As the person who single-handedly popularized the technique of “shaky cam” for the new millennium, Greengrass has seen his signature style emulated in action films as wide-ranging as Quantum of Solace and Taken 2. While so many of these pictures exploit the visual chaos of handheld camerawork to mask lazy fight choreography, Greengrass has always wielded the aesthetic with visionary purpose, whether that purpose be visceral, political, or both.

Indeed, shaky cam may be Greengrass’ most recognizable trademark, but it is the filmmaker’s purposefulness in confronting social and political issues that most fully unites his work past and present. Prior to making feature films, Greengrass worked for ten years at World in Action, a British investigative current events program known for its forceful and unorthodox journalistic style. Leaving a trail of controversy in its wake,

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