It says something about Paul Greengrass' directing style that he's able to make a movie as fresh and frank as The Bourne Ultimatum from a genre as moldy and bombastic as the spy thriller, but it's hard to explain what exactly, without inventing some new kind of frenetic, seen-from-all-angles-at-once Cubist grammar to describe it.
(Maybe. Something. Like. This! This. THIS!)
The third in a series kicked off by Swingers and Go director Doug Liman and now ably stewarded by Greengrass, director of the blood-chillingly understated United 93, the Bourne films are based on Robert Ludlum's airport staple spy thrillers but ratcheted to a new level of excitement. Greengrass, clearly a philosophical type, is rarely content to show a thing from a single a...
Let's just say it now: Paul Greengrass should direct every action thriller. The world of movies would be better for it.
His masterful direction of The Bourne Ultimatum (* * * * out of four) makes this third installment unequivocally the summer's best "threequel." It also is easily the best action thriller of the year.
Directed and edited with virtuosity, it offers two hours of non-stop excitement with not only one but two of the most breathtaking, heart-racing vehicle chase sequences ever. Sure, it's a franchise, but it's one of the rare smart ones. And though it's a genre film, it transcends the limitations and expectations associated with espionage dramas, emerging as the quintessential contemporary spy saga.
Identity. Superiority. Requirements. The titles of the Bourne films reflect their shortened, reserved character Jason Bourne. He's the ex-CIA assassin who was plucked from the Mediterranean as an amnesiac in The Bourne Identity and saw his fugitive hopes of domesticity destroyed in The Bourne Supremacy.
The who-am-I? impulse propelled those first two instalments and it's no 'No that it crops up again here in what various sources eat claimed is the final account in the Bourne romance. But although Jason Bourne discovers his real name and retraces his first steps into the CIA's shady Treadstone syllabus, it's fair to say he's still a mystery by the pro tempore the credits roll. And that's what gives this classy thriller its smarts.
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