The Bourne Ultimatum – Film Review
Director: Paul Greengrass
Cast: Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Albert Finney
by Matt Callard
What started as a dubious sounding vehicle for Matt Damon as an American James Bond with memory loss has somehow turned into one of the great action movie trilogies. The Bourne Ultimatum is packed full of brawn and brains and with a pay-off that satisfies. This very modern thriller series has re-claimed cinema, post 24, as the place to see men running around with guns, shooting each other and doing death-defying stuff.
Damon has hinted this will be the last in the series – and it should be. But big bucks speak volumes in Hollywood and this performed at the box office. A brilliant early sequence in London, with Brit director Paul Greengrass re-employing his intense trademark shaky-cam technique, sets the lean, mean tone for the whole movie.
“Smart bubbling-under sub-plots”
Everything is tight, taut, tense. Built for speed but with a crucial credibility factor, the ensuing game of cat and mouse manages even to attain some of the edge-of-seat anxiety that made Greengrass’ earlier United 93 borderline unwatchable. Bourne himself remains inscrutable and morally ambivalent throughout. There are smart bubbling-under sub-plots about heroism and patriotism.
But it’s the action that really matters. The ferocious energy barely lets up. The editing is brutally, remorselessly fast. Dare I say, there are at least three of the greatest action sequences ever put to celluloid here. Do they still use celluloid? Whatever, it’s hard to overstate it – this is a rush. An action film that doesn’t leave you feeling used. If it does prove to be the last in the series – we’ve all gone out on a high.