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Friday, July 22, 2011
The Bourne Ultimatum - 2007
Well, there is probably no denying that I am alone in this next statement, but can anyone say best action flick ever made? Clearly I have not seen every action movie in history, so I am by no means entitled to make such a statement. However, I have no doubt seen more action films than anything else in my lifetime, and The Bourne Ultimatum is probably my favorite out of them all. Yes, before you comment on here asking about these films, that does include Die Hard, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and any Gladiator type film. Though before I begin this review, I am not saying The Bourne Ultimatum is the best action movie, simply my favorite.
I first saw this film back in 2007 in my local theater, and it immediately became my favorite film of all time, and held that title for no less than two years. Obviously, since then my film knowledge has grown, and I realized there are many more, far better movies out there, but I have never quit enjoying The Bourne Ultimatum.
If you have already seen the first two Bourne films, it comes to no surprise where the story leads us here, in the final installment of the trilogy. Well, at one point it was, now we have the sequel starring Jeremy Renner. The Bourne Ultimatum begins right where we are left off in The Bourne Supremacy, just after Pam Landy (Joan Allen) retires from leading the case. Bourne now has made contact with a reporter Simon Ross (Paddy Considine), who is researching and trying to uncover the secrets of Operation Blackbriar, which in the end could reveal Bourne's true identity. But this time CIA Deputy Director Noah Vosen (David Strathairn) is tracking Bourne, and brings Landy back into the case, where he will stop at nothing to find and kill Bourne, even if it means murdering innocent people and breaking many laws.
The Bourne Ultimatum is exactly what I want in a modern day action flick. From beginning to end, nothing but explosives, extreme thrills, and fantastic action stunts and sequences. But, here's the catch, The Bourne Ultimatum has what other critically acclaimed action flicks don't, intelligence. Other movies such as Die Hard, which to me is one of the most overrated movies of all time, if not the most overrated. Though after roughly thirty viewings of The Bourne Ultimatum, two things never cease to amaze me. How this filmmaking crew packed so much intelligence into the film when dialogue takes up very little of the movie. And how it did not get a Best Picture nomination. Sure, the Academy doesn't have any love for action flicks, and with good reason, but there is no way this film did not deserve at the very least a nod for the best film of the year.
In today's modern films, it seems that we cannot get enough of the horribly annoying shaky camera mess. Paul Greengrass, director of the final two Bourne films, takes a camera that absolutely will not stay still, and yet is is some of the finest camera work I have ever seen. The fight sequence between Bourne and the man hired to kill him is unbelievable work with the camera. It created such an authentic feel to the scene, bringing the audience as close as possible to the edge of their seats without falling off. Greengrass brilliantly holds this film together, and quite honestly there were no pacing issues at all, and I was not bored one second during the film.
The screenplay, written by Tony Gilroy, acclaimed writer/director, and George Nolfi, who recently made his directorial debut with The Adjustment Bureau. Together they have created an unusually satisfying explanation to Bourne's past, which is something I was terribly concerned about going into the film. Nevermind their writing of the action scenes, and excellent dialogue when it presents itself, the most important part of their job was to complete the film. We all want to know what happened, and assisted by Robert Ludlum's novel, Nolfi and Gilroy do a perfect job.
Matt Damon continues to grow in acting ability as he gets older, and gains more and more respect from me every time I watch him on screen. While The Bourne Ultimatum is not a film that is in desperate need of strong performances, Damon's work here is so believable that I cannot deny it's one of the reasons the film as a whole distinguishes itself from other average action flicks. The table is set, and Damon's performance completes the film series in the way that it should have. My hat goes off to him. David Strathairn is also very sharp with his work, certainly no Chris Cooper, but I enjoyed him throughout the film. Joan Allen is solid as always, and Julia Stiles is as annoying as ever for me, though she neither helps or hurts the film.
Overall, The Bourne Ultimatum is a masterful entry into the action part of cinema from Paul Greengrass. Big action fans will drool over this movie and demand a second viewing along with a DVD copy instantly after seeing it. While regular viewers will enjoy themselves, and film buffs will critique and praise the sound and film editing. But forget all of the technical stuff, sit back, and watch this amazing conclusion to a brilliant series.