ALTERNATE REALITY, serving Chicago comic fandom since 1978  That's over 40 years of service!                                                                                                    We started at the Comicbook Emporium in February of 1978, Five & Dime Comics from 1983 to 1994 and Alternate Reality ever since, thats over 40 years of serving Chicago South Side Comic Fandom                                                                   SAVINGS! SERVICE! SELECTION! HISTORY! We have it all!

 

  COMIC REVIEWS
AT THE MOVIES
  KIDS CORNER REVIEWS
VIDEO OUTHOUSE REVIEWS
  REVIEWS HOME
REVIEW ARCHIVES
 
AT THE MOVIES

BOURNE ULTIMATUM
(****)
Reviewer:   Jim "JR" Rutkowski
Directors:
Paul Greengrass & Peter MacDonald
Writers:
Screenplay by: Scott Burns,  George J. Nolfi, Tony Gilroy.. Based on the characters created by Robert Ludlum
Starring:
Matt Damon, Joan Allen, Julia Stiles
Length:   111 minutes
Released:   080307
Rating:
PG-13 for violence and intense sequences of action.
"Who says blockbusters canít be art?"
Arriving at the tail end of a disastrous summer slate chock-full of bloated franchise flicks, The Bourne Ultimatum canít help but feel like an antidote to all the CGI poison weíve been injecting into our eyeballs since May.

This trim, efficient, preposterously entertaining popcorn picture isnít just a model of craftsmanship, itís also a rousing rebuke to the idiotically widespread notion that turning off your brain is a requirement for enjoying an action movie. This is whip-smart genre filmmaking with a seething political undercurrent keyed directly into the here and now. Who says blockbusters canít be art?

We first met Matt Damonís amnesiac assassin in Doug Limanís surprise 2002 hit The Bourne Identity. Rediscovering his almost superhuman skill sets while on the run through Europe with Franka Potenteís innocent Marie, the first Jason Bourne adventure put a nifty postmillennial spin on Robert Ludlumís Cold War spy series, complete with a low-key romance that made this endlessly watchable diversion feel like Before Sunrise for boys.

United 93 director Paul Greengrass took the reins with 2004ís The Bourne Supremacy, and it was only a few moments into the picture that sweet Marie took a bullet in the head. That rare breed of sequel that deepens and expands upon the original film, Supremacy sent Damon on a darker, more isolated journey, face to face with the killer inside him, attempting to atone for the sins of his past.

Greengrass is back for The Bourne Ultimatum, a large chunk of which takes place in between Supremacyís despairing Moscow climax and that feel-good studio-mandated N.Y.C. epilogue that never felt quite right. Having lost the one person he cared about, and still tormented by memories of murder, Jasonís heading home to confront the men who made him what he is.

Meanwhile things arenít going very well in Langley. Joan Allenís savvy CIA operative Pamela Landy, who in the last picture found herself shifting from Bourneís adversary to his ally, has just been sidelined by David Strathairnís take-no-prisoners, starched-shirt armchair warrior.

In case you havenít been reading the papers, weíre in a whole new era of national security, free from any pesky oversight. Turns out the Treadstone Project that turned Jason Bourne into a Frankenstein monster was just the tip of the iceberg, and a hapless Guardian reporter (Paddy Considine) is dumping far too much classified information into the headlines for folks like Strathairn to sleep well at night.

The majority of The Bourne Ultimatum is a relentless cat-and-mouse game, as Bourne follows a bread-crumb trail of clues across the globe, pursued every step of the way by a seemingly inexhaustible supply of ďtake-down teamsĒ and ďactivated assets with standing kill orders.Ē The thrill lies in watching Jason strategize and outwit his would-be captors, improvising his way out of impossible situations with a Boy Scoutís resourcefulness and those lightning-fast moves.

Shooting almost exclusively with handheld cameras, Greengrass keeps us crunched in tighter and closer up than most directors might dare. In Supremacy this technique occasionally tipped toward incoherence, but this time he and cinematographer Oliver Wood have found a happy medium, never sacrificing clarity for visceral impact. Stunt coordinator and second-unit director Dan Bradley again finds astounding ways to place the camera inside crashing cars at breakneck speeds, culminating in a Manhattan traffic pile-up that exceeds even the high standards set by the previous pictures.

The Bourne Ultimatum is as propulsive and nerve-jangling as any action flick Iíve seen, breathlessly rocketing from one hair-raising set piece to another, buttressed by elliptical, no-nonsense character beats that speak volumes in brief silences. (At a lean, mean 111 minutes, itís something like a half-hour shorter than every other summer event flick this year.)

But what I find most interesting is the moral severity Greengrass has imposed on the series. The killings in these films hurt, and carry with them a tremendous psychological cost. Damon, as always, underplays the part brilliantly, with barely a page or two worth of dialogue, conveying the characterís torment strictly through his sleek physicality and haunted stare. The Bourne Ultimatumís final reel, with its stark allusions to hoodings and water boarding, springs from a genuine place of outrageóat the patriotism of young men being perverted and used for nefarious purposes by an untrustworthy government. A disenchanted Allen surveys the agencyís transgressions and sighs: ďThis isnít what we signed on for.Ē

Looking back, itís often through entertainment that we can see the anxieties of an era peeking through the popcorn crowd-pleasers. The Bourne Ultimatum isnít just the best movie of this trilogyóitís one of the best films of the year.

THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM © 2007 Universal Pictures.
All Rights Reserved

Review © 2007 Alternate Reality, Inc.

RELATED REVIEWS...

THE BOURNE IDENTITY

"ÖLiman speaks only when he has something to say so at times heís just keeps to himself until those moments comeĒ (JR)
JASON BOURNE

".The cast looks bored, the set-pieces are dull, and the script is perfunctory-why did Bourne needed to return..."   (JR)
THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM

"Who says blockbusters canít be art?"  (JR)

RETURN TO TOP

 

 
25% OFF
2 NEW FIRST ISSUES
7 FULL DAYS
25% OFF OUR KIDS BOOK OF THE WEEK AND 25% OFF OUR BOOK OF THE WEEK

ALL WEEK LONG
EVERY WEEK!
20% OFF EVERY 20TH
SAVE 20% ON THE 20TH OF EACH MONTH!
EVERY SUNDAY
ALL KIDS CORNER COMICS & BOOKS 20% OFF
LADIES DAY THURSDAY
EVERY THURSDAY LADIES SAVE 20% OFF!
CUSTOMER APPRECIATION BUCKS
GOOD FOR VARIANT SETS, CLEARANCE COMICS & BACK ISSUES!
GOOD GRADES DESERVE A REWARD
BRING IN YOUR REPORT CARD!