The Bourne Ultimatum Paul Greengrass

The Bourne Ultimatum Paul Greengrass

The top 25 grossing films at North American cineplexes in 2007 make for a pretty depressing list: two sequels, six threequels, a fourquel, a fivequel, and Wild Hogs. Collectively these films brought in billions of dollars in ticket sales but also saw many filmgoers disenchanted by the poor quality of blockbuster filmmaking (Spiderman 4, anyone?). One of the few bright spots came from an unlikely source: one of those six threequels. While Ratatouille and Knocked Up gave the summer movie slate a needed boost of genuine heart and humour, Paul Greengrass’s The Bourne Ultimatum brought along accomplished filmmaking and some serious adrenaline to boot. The third in the Bourne trilogy (though with the money it made, it might not end there), and based on Robert Ludlum’s novels, Ultimatum is perhaps the only threequel this side of The Return of the King to improve upon its predecessors in terms of both box office and quality. Written by Michael Clayton’s Tony Gilroy and directed with incomparable precision by Greengrass (who got an Oscar nomination in between Bournes with last year’s United 93), Ultimatum follows Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), an ex-CIA spy whose employers wrongly stripped him of his memory, identity and one true love. While the first two films pulled Jason in various directions with a variety of motivations (and all over some fantastic European location shoots), Ultimatum has one destination: Mr. Bourne wants to go home. And his journey plays out like one giant, mesmerising chase sequence. Though action-heavy performances rarely get any kudos, Damon deserves some serious ones for keeping up with Greengrass’s pace and for giving considerable depth to Bourne’s dark, complicated psyche. His performance carries the complex, smart and meticulously edited film set around him. On the DVD commentary, Greengrass seems to agree, noting that Damon "stripped out all the machismo, gun-toting, conventional clichés of the action-adventure hero and brought instead a quality of humanity, a quality of truthfulness.” And despite sequences probably best suited for IMAX, the film loses little of its appeal on DVD, which offers some great behind the scenes extras explaining how numerous incredible sequences were pulled off, some surprisingly informative deleted scenes and the aforementioned Greengrass commentary. The entire Bourne series is worthy of being in your DVD collection but Ultimatum is ultimately one of the best true action films of the past decade. (Universal)