The best movie of the franchise and a very high watermark of 2000s action-thrillers.
Dir. Paul Greengrass
2007 | USA | Action/Mystery/Thriller | 115 mins | 2.39:1 | English
PG13 (passed clean) for violence and intense sequences of action
Cast: Matt Damon, Édgar Ramírez, Joan Allen, David Strathaim, Paddy Considine
Plot: Bourne dodges new, superior assassins as he searches for his unknown past while a government agent tries to track him down.
Awards: Won 3 Oscars – Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing; Nom. for Audience Award (Locarno)
Distributor: United International Pictures
Subject Matter: Moderate
Narrative Style: Slightly Complex
Audience Type: Mainstream
(Reviewed in theatres – first published 18 Aug 2007)
Paul Greengrass might wish to consider getting a camera tripod, but that would just mar his vision. The Bourne Ultimatum is a pure exercise in ‘Parkinson’s camera’; Greengrass gleefully indulges in shaky photography which results in a blinding action thriller.
I wouldn’t fault him because he has the cinematic intelligence to justify his decision to film the final chapter of the ‘Bourne’ trilogy on a vibrating bed. However, he goes a little too much in certain scenes, jerking the lens about even during slower face-to-face conversations.
The storyline packs a punch, delivering an intricate plot of a former spy hunted by government agents who are determined to thwart the former from recollecting his mysterious past. The result is a well-conceived screenplay that makes James Bond films look like child’s play.
“Do you even know why you’re supposed to kill me? Look at us. Look at what they make you give.”
The Bourne Ultimatum is inherently a foot chase over many cities from New York to Madrid. I’ve to applaud Greengrass’ for building up several of the film’s 20-minute chase sequences to heart-pounding levels through the clever use of snappy editing and the above-mentioned Parkinson’s camera approach.
The final climax is somewhat anti-climatic and predictable. But that does not numb our satisfaction for The Bourne Ultimatum. It’s one of the leading examples of the spy-thriller in recent years. Matt Damon and a highly talented supporting cast lend enough quality to the film’s emotional core whilst the transition from its previous installment, The Bourne Supremacy (2004), is fluid.
Greengrass might be accused of overusing flashbacks (which are sometimes distracting), but most of us will acknowledge that the pacing of The Bourne Ultimatum is top-notch, giving viewers two hours of excitement no roller coaster ride can ever dream to give.