21.12.09

The Bourne Ultimatum

Was the plot of this film planned when they shot the last scene of Supremacy? I sorta hope not, because it only adds to the awesome achievement of the final volume in the trilogy. Goddamn is it a wild ride. And the fisticuffs in Morocco -- best fight scene ever? Kinda yeah.

If I was feeling really picky, I would slam the 'I picture the faces of the people I've killed, but I don't know their names' scene as a tired cliche. But the film does something clever, intercutting the monologue with Pam Landy reading the actual names of the people he's killed. So a scene about remorse becomes a scene about the balance of power between the rogue agent and his former masters, about abuse and exploitation.

Dubya's War On Terror is written all over this film. I do find the CIA's limitless resources in Ultimatum a little ludicrous when we know what we know now. (Burn After Reading is probably closer to the truth). But the idea that the intelligence services create as many enemies as they fight is interesting, and conveyed well.

And there's Julia Stiles. I love Julia Stiles, in 10 Things and Save The Last Dance and anything else she chooses to appear in. She is on love interest duties here, but what's great is how silent and tentative that relationship is. There is no relationship. There can't be while Bourne is still waging war on the CIA. But the final moment of the film is beautiful in its suggestiveness. Both characters are still alive, and now free (the final image of Damon swimming through water is a nice symbol of rebirth). The film makes the connection between them, and then leaves it hanging. The audience can continue that story in their heads if they want (and I do want), but it's only ever a sideshow to the main business of the film -- Bourne's origin -- which is now over. The most respectful and stylish romance in an action film ever? Kinda yeah.

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