Local opening date: 8/3/2007
Reviewed by Diane Carson
As the great Sir Alfred Hitchcock
proved several times, few plots offer more compelling fare than the innocent
man on the run, desperate to reclaim his good name and decipher the
unfathomable events swirling around and precipitated by him. The Jason Bourne
franchise has parlayed this idea into three terrific films, added a dose of
amnesia to sweeten the mix, and made him an astonishingly adept C.I.A.
This time out, in The Bourne
Ultimatum, the chase continues, even accelerated from earlier installments,
with fewer pauses for story. Less time is needed since the always brilliant
Joan Allen again plays CIA agent Pamela Landy and Julia Stiles also returns as
Nicky Parsons. But the film belongs to Matt Damon, in full flight, resourceful
and fleet with a bag of tricks and a high octane brain.
Ludlum created Bourne in his 1980 novel, The
Bourne Identify, and the screen adaptations by Tony Gilroy develop a crucial,
ironic element that keeps Bourne thoroughly, psychologically conflicted even
when he isn't fighting physically for his life. Bourne has a conscience!
Ironically, existentially, he can not remember his real identity but is haunted
by his victims' faces and his own induction through tortures echoing those in
today's news. This all makes Bourne a complex character instead of a marionette
of a killer, intensifying tension in quiet scenes while never detracting from
the visceral thrills. In fact, director Paul Greengrass, who also takes credit
for The Bourne Supremacy and the
gut-wrenching United 93, choreographs
electrifying action superbly edited by Christopher Rouse.
I wouldn't dream
of revealing the twists and turns, so suffice it to say that Greengrass loves
panorama shots-of London, Madrid,
Paris, New York,
Tangiers, and Moscow.
On-location work increases the impact as no computer effects can. The cities
look like jigsaw pieces in this wondrous puzzle. Enhancing the intrigue,
characters are shot through foreground objects partially obscuring the frame, a
visual translation of murky motives of
many including David Strathairn as government representative Noah Voss plus
Scott Glenn and Albert Finney. The music and sound add another nerve jangling
layer and the art direction contributes equally. The Bourne Ultimatum left me exhilarated and elated that a film can
offer two hours of exciting, clever chases and have a heart and soul. At area
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