The Bourne Ultimatum

“CIA, mate.”

The other lesson that we can learn from the cinema is that any given US governmental body has a couple of corrupt bastards in it who bend the innocents to their whims. Naturally, only one man can right this wrong!

Paul Greengrass’s The Bourne Ultimatum never lets up. With no downtime, the ending sneaks up on you and bites your face off. Despite its lack of cinematic structure for comfort, this is still an exciting film. I’ve never held much stock in Matt Damon, but he’s more accomplished than I’ve given him credit for.

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) wants his identity. The CIA wants him dead. This is a slight conflict of interest.

The Bourne Ultimatum is a simple matter of simultaneously tracking Bourne across Europe while watching the CIA trying to hunt him from their Washington HQ. Even Julia Stiles, who seems to no longer have any film work outside of Bourne, is in on the action and, eleventh hour, it’s personal.

I didn’t actually get around to seeing The Bourne Supremacy, and my memory of The Bourne Identity is limited to having seen it with my grandparents at the cinema. This is no great obstacle to the enjoyment of a film that consists of exposition delivered through explosions; it’s a pretty accessible project.

Bourne isn’t much of a character by design, but it is good to see him develop something of a personality even without the foil of Franke Potente. Similarly, the CIA aren’t all homicidal bastids intent on destroying Bourne, so we’re given enough variety to sustain the film. I’m not certain what qualifiees something as an intelligent action film, but The Bourne Ultimatum isn’t stupid: it’s about choice, and the renegotiation of terms. If these things involve jumping across rooftops in exotic locales and shooting people, that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

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