Thoughts on: The Bourne Ultimatum

So this is my review of the final instalment in the Bourne Trilogy. Many people regard this one to be the best. While it is good, I don’t quite agree.

As always, spoilers.

Narrative

Answers. Bourne always wants answers. This time he actually gets them. It’s just as well, actually, as The Bourne Ultimatum features a lot of the same things we’ve seen in the previous two films: car chases, globetrotting and one-on-one fights with super-assassins.

However, like previous iterations, Ultimatum’s narrative carries on the series’ tradition of showing the finger to classic Hollywood tropes. For example, there’s a hint of a romance between our main man and Nicky Parsons (Julia Styles). But that’s it, a hint. It would’ve been so easy for an action heavy film like this to stick a blatant romance in the middle. Instead, it only focuses on the important stuff. Bravo.

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Ah Waterloo, one of the world’s busiest train stations… the perfect place for a quick snipe

Ultimatum also does something unusual in the way it decides to tell its story. Half of it technically takes place in Supremacy: we pick up with Bourne still in Russia, not long after he dropped the bomb on young Irena Neski. It’s only when the final scene of the second film is repeated – where Bourne calls Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) less than a few hundred feet from her office in New York – are we firmly into Ultimatum territory.  In truth it doesn’t add that much to the film, but it is a neat little quirk that few series utilise.

Direction

The decision to keep on Paul Greengrass as director is a good one, as Ultimatum continues the series’ documentary-like style. However, while Greengrass’ style is mostly a plus for the film, it does come with the usual downside: shaky cam. Granted, many directors use this technique to cover up bad stunt-work, and I’m pretty sure it’s not used for this reason here. But it’s still fairly annoying when it’s used during fight scenes and car chases, as it’s kinda hard to follow the action.

Other than that, no complaints.

Performances

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No Jeremy, go away

Ultimatum is probably the most action heavy of the trilogy. Yet, the film’s leading cast is given enough room to shine. Damon, once again, is excellent as Bourne, Joan Allen continues to do a great job as the not-actually-a-twat Pam Landy, and David Strathairn is also good as Ultimatum’s version of the CIA asshole – even if his character isn’t especially dissimilar to the two CIA assholes that came before. Overall, solid performances all round.

In a few words…

A solid finish for an all-round fantastic trilogy.

(Oh, and I’m finally going to see the new one later this evening – happy days.)

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