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Anything. Anywhere. Instantly. 

Year: 2008 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Jumper

Director: Doug Liman

Starring: Hayden Christensen, Jamie Bell, Samuel L. Jackson, Rachel Bilson

Billed as a cross between the Bourne series and The Matrix, Doug Liman’s latest film is an imitation of neither, existing as it does well within its own universe. The premise is simple: after a near death experience, Hayden Christensen’s David discovers that he has the power to teleport at will. After using this ability to create a new life for himself, his idyllic existence is challenged by an encounter with another ‘Jumper,’ played by Jamie Bell, and the secret war that is raging throughout our world between Jumpers and those sworn to destroy them, the Paladins.

Leader of the Paladins is played by Samuel L. Jackson, who brings his weary malevolence to a role otherwise shrouded in mystery. But this is about as far as the story gets, with Liman’s skilful eye for an astounding set piece coming to the fore. The jumps are spectacular and wonderfully realised, each one producing a blast radius which affects the environment jumped into and leaving a ‘jumpscar’, a tear which can be used to follow a Jumper to their next location. Like bullet-time before it, Jumping will be imitated and parodied, but here it is used perfectly, conveying both the thrill and the difficulty of the jumps, as well as the destruction.

Links to the Bourne trilogy lie initially at the feet of Liman himself, director of The Bourne Identity, but also in its structure of a frenetic chase across international locations. The ability to travel from the Coliseum to the Sphinx in one movement lends the climactic showdown a spectacular background without losing its gripping immediacy. As well as a special effects film and a chase film, however, Jumper is also a superhero film of sorts. But while the great power is present and utilised, the great responsibility is shirked.

This is what gives the film its core, the substance to its style. In a cinema saturated with virtuous superheroes it is refreshing to see a more realistic take. David uses his power for his own benefit, with no illusions of grandeur, and does not think twice about thievery and trespassing in order to continue his fenceless existence. This elevates the otherwise simplistic battle between the Jumpers and the Paladins to an ideological struggle. Should David be punished for using his power carelessly for his own ends? There is no easy answer. This challenge, however, is a rewarding one, and gives Jumper some brain to go with its breathtaking brawn.

Peter Lefort

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Screenings of this film:

2007/2008 Summer Term (35mm)