Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Premise: The third installment in the Jason Bourne franchise. In this film, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) finds himself and the CIA the subject of a series of articles in a British newspaper. Bourne emerges from hiding, racing against a ruthless CIA director (David Strathairn) to discover clues to the agency’s secret assassin program and finally resolve the gaps in his memory and recover his pre-CIA identity.
What Works: The Bourne Ultimatum nicely concludes the story of Jason Bourne in ways that top the previous installments while also respecting them and brings the story to a satisfactory conclusion. Paul Greengrass’ direction takes a step up from The Bourne Supremacy and he shows an ability to create dramatic scenes with the actors that are as appealing as the wild but original action sequences of the film. Like the previous films, the action sequences of The Bourne Ultimatum combine gritty realism with speed and big stunts, and the chase scenes in this film exceed not only the other Bourne pictures but give similar scenes in films like Raiders of the Lost Ark and The French Connection a run for their money. Damon has done some of the best acting work of his career in this series, since the stories have allowed him to explore the tension between acting as a hero and as a murderer, something few action films or assassin films have bothered to address. The journey of the character is nicely wrapped up here, as Jason Bourne faces his creators and (figuratively speaking) reaches atonement with his parents.
What Doesn’t: The only flaw of the film is in the length of some of the chase sequences. Although they are expertly edited and choreographed, a few do go on a bit long (especially the chase in Morocco) and would do with some trimming.
Bottom Line: The Bourne Ultimatum caps off a fantastic series of spy films that have raised the bar for the action and espionage genres.
Episode: #151 (August 5, 2007)