Matt Damon’s forgetful spy is back in “The Bourne Ultimatum,” the third entry in the popular spy thriller.
Like 2004’s “The Bourne Supremacy,” “Ultimatum” is directed by Paul Greengrass, whose gritty style brought the series to a whole other
level after the fairly bland original. Greengrass follows up “Supremacy” with a film that is not just a worthy follow-up, but an equal.
This time Jason Bourne is on the offensive, seeking the truth of his past with more furor than ever before.
The action and espionage sequences are the best in the series; brilliantly executed by Greengrass and his cinema-verite shaky camera
work. Unlike in Transformers where Michael Bay uses a continuous series of random shots, Greengrass always keeps continuity amid the
As in the previous films, the cast of characters and their motives can be daunting, but it’s never confusing thanks to Tony Gilroy’s lean
script and precision editing by Christopher Rouse, who should have won an Oscar for his work on Greengrass’ previous film “United 93.”
“Ultimatum” jumps around to more countries and cities that we can even count and the hyper pace of the movie helps to amp up the
intensity of the entire affair. There is just about zero downtime in this film.
Matt Damon continues to be excellent in this role and is still completely believable as an action star even as the sequences became more
and more insane. The only weakness here lies in the character himself, who is honestly a bit of a sad sack. With a lesser actor Jason
Bourne could have been a very unlikable character.
The film also returns Joan Allen from the last film and she does a fantastic job as the conflicted Pamela Landy. It was also nice to see Julia
Stiles’ character actually play an important role in this one after sitting on the sidelines through most of the trilogy.
Of the new characters, David Strathairn steals the show as the CIA head that has his own personal reasons for getting rid of Bourne.
“The Bourne Ultimatum” is an exhilarating film and a magnificent ending to what has become a fantastic spy trilogy. This film packs more
intensity in any one of its action sequences than most movies manage in their entire running time and tops it off with a solid plot to boot.
When I wrote my review of “Supremacy” I said the James Bond series should be ashamed of itself. And now, after the brilliant “Casino
Royale” and yet another fantastic Bourne film, let’s just say it’s a great time to be a fan of espionage.
* * * 1/2
(out of four)
P.S. Familiarize yourself with the last few scenes of “The Bourne Supremacy” for added effect. I won’t say anymore than that…
Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Written by: Tony Gilroy and George Nolfi and Scott Z.
Starring: Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, David Strathairn, Joan
Allen, Albert Finney, Scott Glenn
Cinematography by: Oliver Wood
Music by: John Powell
Released: August 3, 2007; 111 Minutes