Bourne Ultimatum by Paul Greengrass dazzles for a film in its genre. The plot, as is to be expected, isn’t exceptional, except that it does its part by setting the stage for some deep (for its genre) introspection, brilliantly choreographed fight sequences, bomb attacks, shootings and street chases in disparate settings. While managing to capture the essence of so many beautiful cities in the midst of all this.
Tangier has its vibrant market bustling with people, crazy dirt-bike and scooter riding on narrow streets, life bustling around the French cafe, dormant domestic afternoons in the intricately tiled narrow corridors and rooms, rooftop chases across walls that are covered with glass shards. Tangier is where the first spectacle in the movie takes place – the long graceful capoeira-like but gruesome man to man combat. The sequence starts out with a scene where Bourne jumps into the window of a house from the rooftop across the narrow street. (The stunt-double does a free jump and is closely followed by the cameraman, who also jumped right behind him). You are completely immersed. The fine-tuned sound effects make your pulse race.
Then there are Italy’s charming cobbled streets, heavy doors and tiny windows. And Italian cops, some nice espresso. The Waterloo station in London and New York bring you back to steel and grey, but not without their own kind of beauty. The photography has been so precisely planned that you never have to swerve off the plot or the protagonist to soak in the locale.
Bourne has always been about more than just thrill and action. It has been about introspection and identity (yes, I know, how trite), but I think its main appeal has been its no-nonsense approach. There isn’t a love interest, not a single kiss (if you discount flashbacks). I am seriously impressed. Here is one movie with two female actors. Both perfectly capable, independent and intelligent. The young female lead doesn’t even look anorexic – didn’t they get the memo?
Matt Damon has improved with age. I am glad he decided to check-in his i-am-smarter-than-everyone persona at the door (sort of) and moved on to trying his hand at different things. His Jason Bourne is very good, as the New Yorker review agrees,
Matt Damon, at least in the “Bourne” series, looks like a bullet. He has short hair, no stubble to speak of, and a blunt nose. In violent scenes, his eyes go dead, and he has a strong, compact body, which he hurls through the frame, ricocheting off walls, windows, cars, and fences.
There are nuances that appeal to the geek in me. For instance, the ubiquitous cellphones – as cameras that transmit live video across continents, untraceable prepaid phones, tracking devices – all of which are used in a very realistic way. The VW lover in me is also in for a treat – very good product placement here.
It was in the end, it was two hours well spent.