Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Bourne Ultimatum

Writes Stephanie Zacharek in Solon:

… ""The Bourne Ultimatum" is a great action movie, exhilarating and neatly crafted, the kind of picture that will still look good 20 or 30 years from now. And while it isn't a cheerful picture, I found it to be an oddly comforting one, perhaps more so than its two predecessors, 2002's "The Bourne Identity" (directed by Doug Liman) and Greengrass' 2004 "The Bourne Supremacy." In "The Bourne Ultimatum," Jason Bourne's isolation feels weightier and more oppressive than ever. But then again, sometimes -- particularly if you're killing people and you don't know why -- isolation is the only appropriate feeling. There's a way in which Greengrass and the movie's writers, Tony Gilroy and Scott Z. Burns, make Jason's separateness so palpable that it's practically a communal state, something that draws us closer to him rather than distances us.

"In all three of these movies, Jason Bourne -- played by Matt Damon, an actor so old-fashioned all-American that he looks as if he'd be most at home in one of those 1940s football costumes with the leather helmet -- knows he's a killer; he simply has no idea what his motives are, or who or what may have instilled these murderous impulses. At the beginning of the second film, "The Bourne Supremacy," Bourne's girlfriend, Marie (played by marvelous, openhearted actress Franka Potente), is killed suddenly. She has been trying to help him remember who he is, and to find out who's instigating these ruthless missions. "The Bourne Ultimatum" simply drops us into the middle of Jason's story and assumes we're hip to it. But even at this point in Jason's nightmare adventure, as he sprints to keep at least two (and often 20) paces ahead of the top-secret CIA forces that are trying to kill him, Marie is still a not-so-spectral presence. In "The Bourne Ultimatum" he explains to Nicky (wonderfully stern and serene Julia Stiles), the young CIA agent who keeps looping into his story, "I can see their faces -- everyone I ever killed. I just don't know their names." And then he adds, as if struggling to retrieve stray scraps of memory from the corners of his brain, "Marie would try to help me remember their names."…

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