The Bourne Ultimatum
- Paul Greengrass
- Reviewed by
- José Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Six weeks after Jason (Matt Damon) ended up in Moscow opening his heart to the daughter of two of his victims, he finds himself interested in a reporter, Simon Ross (Paddy Considine), who seems to know more about him than he does, even though he’s starting to recover some of his memory; so he sets out after him, something that makes him reappear in the eyes of the CIA, where Deputy Director Noah Vosen (David Strathairn) is desperately trying to get rid of him while agent Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) disagrees and wants to help him.
Director Paul Greengrass is back at the helm, working from a script by Tony Gilroy, Scott Z Burns and George Nolfi, very loosely based on Robert Ludlum’s novels. The Bourne Ultimatum follows the same formula that made the previous installments such a great treat: locations all around the world, political intrigue with plot twists galore, raw action sequences and a tragic antihero at its center who is looking for closure. The movie starts fast and ends fast, there’s barely any room to breathe; it is intelligent entertainment at its best.
It’s also impressive how simple it is without appearing to be so. We finally get some answers in this chapter, but there barely are any moments of exposition; dialogue scenes are quick, information is delivered without much hoopla, and hints of past situations are dropped without any fanfare. I really respect the approach, because there continues to be material for more installments (I cross my fingers) but it’s satisfying enough as it is. It’s also interesting to see how the characters have believably evolved. Jason is an even more afflicted man still looking for answers, and Pamela Landy and Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) are now on his side while important political figures treat their lives as if they were flesh-and-blood chess figures. It says a lot about the shady procedures that we don’t know about but which inevitably take place behind the masks of people with power; a scary scenario that nevertheless is completely true.
The action sequences are visceral and very much real, with the highlight being a chase sequence through the roofs of Tangier in which there’s a lot going on and at stake for Bourne. There’s also a fascinating sequence in London’s Waterloo station as he guides reporter Ross out of being exposed. And the whole climax in New York is short on action, but large in suspense; very well-handled.
Greengrass and his writers also do something very cool around the middle portion that ties it with its predecessor in a truly unexpected way and which is sheer brilliance.
Many people might be bothered by the shaky camera and frenetic cutting, but I think Oliver Wood’s cinematography and Christopher Rouse’s editing are spot-on for the kind of story being told. It almost never bothered me. John Powell returns to provide the score and it is, once again, excellent.
Matt Damon is very comfortable in the role of Bourne and he continues to do an admirable job in conveying a lot with very little. He is deadly and dangerous, but he doesn’t enjoy killing and wants nothing more than peace. Joan Allen is such a pleasure to watch that the saga wouldn’t be the same without her, she’s regal. David Strathairn joins the cast and proves a formidable enemy, the same of which can be said of Albert Finney’s brief yet pivotal appearance. Julia Stiles has a bit of a forced entrance, but once she’s in she’s a more-than-welcomed presence. Edgar Ramirez, Scott Glenn, Paddy Considine and all the supporting cast are top-notch.
“Look at us. Look at what they make you give.”
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Other reviews of The Bourne Ultimatum (2007): Groucho