Week 3 of the Ultimate 2000s is in full swing! Today, Curt from The Hypersonic55’s Realm of Reviews and Other Stuff enters the blogathon. Besides his blog, where he writes about all kinds of film and television series, he also hosts the Film Focus podcast, where I have been lucky enough to have been a guest several times. His love of film and everything cinema is apparent throughout his reviews. Check out his site and podcast to see for yourself. For this blogathon, Curt reviews the third installment of one of the most decade-defining action franchises: The Bourne Ultimatum.
Good day to you ladies and gents and welcome to a review I have wanted to write for a while, my thoughts on the third in the Bourne film series: The Bourne Ultimatum.
The story in the film involves Jason Bourne once again attempting to find the answers to his past while also evading the US government and other parties that want him dead. This film dealt with themes relating to fear, loneliness, paranoia, trust and deceit. Like the previous films, this story is about unlocking the truth while also being a game of cat and mouse and keeping the balance of power in favour of the corrupt. Some of the things I love about this film is the sense of uneasiness and infighting amongst the people at the CIA in regards to how to handle Bourne and people with ties back to their operation. I also love learning more about the CIA and their secret programmes, how they’re built upon the foundations of previous ones and the corruption behind the people in power and how they wish to silence who they even suspect of opposing them. Ultimatum also expands upon what we learnt about Bourne, Treadstone and Blackbriar in the previous films and provides not only greater context but also gives you answers to some of the long term questions you may have had since the first film.
The cast was great whether they were returning cast member or new additions. Matt Damon continues to be a cool, badass and vulnerable as Jason Bourne, Julia Stiles as Nicky Parsons is still great and has more to do in the action department, David Strathairn adopts the new villain role as CIA Deputy Director Noah Vosen and he’s great, Joan Allen returns as Pamela Landy and she’s very good offering a different kind of role from before and Albert Finney was felt right at home as Dr. Albert Hirsch. And there were also solid performances from Paddy Considine, Scott Glenn, Édgar Ramírez and Daniel Brühl too.
From a presentation standpoint, this film is nearly flawless. Visually the film is really good, the camera work is great with a variety of shots that are near and far and the shaky cam which was a lot more problematic in Supremacy is a lot cleaner and spacious this time around. The action scenes are really well executed, from the first on-foot chase sequence in Waterloo train station to Bourne’s chase sequence on a motorcycle in Tangier to the epic hand to hand combat scene between Bourne and Desh. Everything is handled with tight and swift editing and incredible attention to detail when it came to sound. Also, the film score by John Powell is great, Powell’s score for this series has been consistent throughout and here he utilised the best aspects of the previous films alongside some new aspects that really helped heighten the action and emotional elements.
To conclude, The Bourne Ultimatum is a fabulous film that you should watch if you’re a fan of action thrillers, it has such a great balance of action and realistic spectacle, but also has all of the smart and intriguing aspects of a satisfying thriller as well. And before the Mission: Impossible series got its groove back, Ultimatum was one of the pinnacles of its genre and won a few technical awards at the Oscars as well. And while you could watch Ultimatum as a standalone film, there are so many extra elements you’d be missing with the story and character connections from subtle to notable visual and verbal references. The story of this film goes a long way to bookend a lot of the core aspects of this film series and it feels like a solid conclusion.
If you’ve missed any of the blogathon entries, you can find a list of them all here.