Sep 16, 2007

Movie Critics: THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM (2007)

by Dave White

Who's in It: Matt Damon, Joan Allen, Scott Glenn, Albert Finney, David Strathairn, Julia Stiles, Paddy Considine

The Basics: It would really help if you've seen the first two movies in this series, because it kind of assumes that you already know that Jason Bourne is a guy with amnesia on the run from some other guys. Thing is, you think the other guys are the bad guys and that Damon can't possibly be bad himself, except that he's just so good at decimating anyone who gets in his way. If you haven't already deduced that he just might have something resembling a dark past, then you haven't really been paying much attention.

What's the Deal? This is, hands down, the best action movie of the year so far. I know I said that Live Free or Die Hard was my favorite not long ago, but Paul Greengrass (who also directed The Bourne Supremacy and United 93) just plain makes smarter, tougher movies. This is not to slight the cartoon craziness of Die Hard and all the stuff that blew up so awesomely there, but this one feels more hard-edged and laser-focused and intense. The chase sequences alone will leave you shouting for more.

What Jason Bourne Has in Common With Jason From Friday the 13th: If this were real life, this guy would be in a full body cast 24/7 and suffer from constant internal hemorrhaging. But he takes insane abuse and violence and murder attempts in stride and just keeps on turning the tables on his attackers and generally not-dying like he's supposed to. I like that in a fictional character.

Why I'm Now Convinced That Matt Damon Is a Wizard: He seems to have the ability to change the shape of his skull depending on how likeable a character he's supposed to be. For example, in Good Will Hunting he's supposed to be adorable so he's got this soft, round face that's lit by Gus Van Sant like it's a remake of Rocco and His Brothers. But here? Mr. Squarehead.

Surprising Myself Here By Not Hating: Julia Stiles.


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