Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum

This summer, it looks like Hollywood is saving the best for the last. After a lacklustre and disappointing start with Spider-man 3(and also Pirates of the Caribbean 3, if one was to go by the reviews), the season has gradually gotten better with much more entertaining films like Die Hard 4 and Transformers released in the last few weeks. The Bourne Ultimatum keeps up the trend. Tautly paced with spectacular action, Jason Bourne's third outing is easily the best of the 2007 summer blockbusters (I can almost imagine Baradwaj Rangan's tagline for his review of the movie if and when it comes - Bourne Again!).

The movie is just one long chase sequence that never loses momentum. From the sequence where Bourne tries to get the reporter safely out of the train station, the film never lets up as it gets Bourne on the run(either after something/someone or with someone after him) in a variety of exotic locations. And its not a chase without a destination either since each of Bourne's stops gets him a little bit closer to finally knowing who he really is. In that way, the entire film is one big jigzaw puzzle with the puzzle being Bourne's past.

The movie has some fantastic chase sequences with two in particular, the aforementioned one in the train station and a chase on foot on rooftops in Morocco, being spectacular. Though the results of the chases are pretty clear(and not just Bourne's fate. Its pretty easy to guess the fates of the people he is trying to save too) director Greengrass manages to film them in a very suspenseful manner (he did the same thing in his previous film, United 93. We knew exactly how the film was going to end but he still generated a lot of suspense and tension). And the chases are not just shootouts or explosions either. They are actually well thought-out and intricately choreographed and small touches(like when Bourne grabs a cloth during the chase on the Moroccan rooftops for a very clever use) elevate them above the usual chase sequences. The car chase is also staged very well but Bourne walking off after all the hits he - and his car - gets takes a bit of the shine off of it.

The film just couldn't have a better ending. We know what's coming but the build-up and the way the final shot is picturized are superb and make us exit the theater with a big smile on our lips.

Matt Damon plays Bourne just right - as a reluctant action hero. He kills enough people and even has a few one-liners and comebacks but does it all with an impassive face that conveys that he isn't really having fun. Joan Allen and Julia Stiles are on his side this time. The former brings her usual dignity to the role while the latter has more screen time but spends most of it on the run(there is a suggestion of some past between her and Bourne since she asks "You don't remember me, do you?" but it is never touched upon later).

The tagline of the movie is "This summer, Bourne comes home". Its a wonderful homecoming!


At 11:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic film. Krishna & I caught the very first show (11:35am on Friday morning) at the Union City Cinemark and loved it.

Krishna hated both Transformers & Sivaji so deeply that at the end of this film, he came out feeling that this had definitely redeemed all the damage that had been done in the last 2 fares this past summer. :-)

I've always been a fan of the Bourne series (especially Matt Damon who is a class act by himself on any given day! :-).. he has such a nice smile (sigh!), it's kinda unfortunate that you don't really even get to see it once in this film.. but that's okay..

I was proud to be in a huge group of folks who gave the film a nice applause as the end credits started rolling. That's the first film since "A Few Good Men" that I saw get an applause from the audience at the end! :-)..

I ran with Jason and just elated that I did! :-)

At 6:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Balaji!

I saw Bourne last Friday afternoon as I was BIG fan of Robert Ludlums books in my IIT days! I had great fun watching the first two but, like you said, this is easily THE BEST ONE yet! I was glued (did not even time to answer my wife's questions once in a while, for 2 hours!!) and did not turn my head not even for a bit!! I think this is the best action movie that I have seen in long long time! (without CG and huge sets that the other summer flicks had!) I loved the chase scene on the roof-top in Tangier (I could not help thinking about the roof-top chase in (my) thalaivar's Vikram!!! That's the die-hard Kamal fan in me showing up!!!) Anyway, I am glad you enjoyed it too!! The ENDING was perfect! (leaves wide open for a 4-th one?!! looks more so, becuase Julia says "it's always been tough for me with you! You don't remember anything, do you?!!! Maybe they will explore that one!)
Good review buddy as always!!

At 2:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes...great movie. 'Bourne Again' is really what it has done.

Have you come across Evan Almighty - does not live up to its predessecor, does it?


At 6:30 PM, Blogger Arun Annamalai said...

Balaji, couldn't agree more, I watched it on Friday night here in New Jersey nad just like Sandya said, people clapped at the end credits and left with a smile. Bourne movies have a narrative style that is unique, it starts on with confusion/search theme, logical situations develop, appropriate characters prop up, connects characters and situation. All this is done while maintaining a kinetic action/momentum through frames. Impressive. Would love another sequel but just can't imagine any threads left, as he has reached the start of his career. Exploring his personal front, cuts out the CIA angle.

At 9:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Bourne trilogy is perhaps the most complete series to date. Others simply pale in comparison in terms of narrative, content and edge of the seat action. Really looking forward to Indy to ride again, as Harrison Ford had said, the pants may not quite fit but the hat will... and of course, the whip.

At 11:31 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

sandya, i remember ur comment about looking forward to 'bourne ultimatum' for one of my early summer posts where i listed summer releases. so not surprised that u guys caught the FDFS :) as should be obvious, i share ur feelings about the film :)

apala, agree on this being the best action movie in a long time. have been bored of cgi in action movies and so films like 'die hard 4' and this come as a relief. wouldn't mind another sequel, whatever the angle, as long as they retain this director :)

arun, good point. the narrative style is like solving a puzzle. and the way the momentum was maintained was nothing short of amazing :) considering the way some sequels have been brought about, the lack of threads shouldnt be a problem if they decide to go for a fourth one :)

anon, oh yeah. cant wait for summer '08 for that one :)

At 6:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'The Bourne ultimatum' is the hottest movie of the year.. It raked in $70M over the last weekend..
Matt Damon is hot as hell..

At 8:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeppo pa harry potter post varadhu?

At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt Damon's back!

Yep agreeing with Anon. Looking forward to some posts u promised:

1)Harry Potter Book Review
4)The Ratings Explanation

and some I wnat: :) :)

* Guru movie review
* More Top 10's/Countdowns

At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

absolutely f****** best of the best action movies we could see in this lifetime ....never the film loses its tempo...non-stop action.....

At 8:22 PM, Blogger Jai said...

the 8 minute fight sequence between Bourne and Desh was very well done...


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