Film Reviews

The Bourne Ultimatum

Universal Studios
Out Now

I really don’t understand why this film has received such laudatory praise. I mean, it was good, but it was nowhere near perfection, even for its genre.

After the first two dark, thrilling and underrated Bourne films, The Bourne Ultimatum seems like a significant disappointment. Director Paul Greengrass gives the impression that chases, car-crashes and fist fights should go on forever, even if they are tiresomely repetitive. And also given that the plot is paper-thin and rather a total repeat of the first two Bourne films it didn’t take me long before I was wondering if they hadn’t just cut and paste a montage of action from the other films together.

One of the most tediously long parts of the film has Jason Bourne jumping across an endless succession of identical rooftops, as he tries to save the pathetic Nicky Parsons. As Jason Bourne hops from rooftop to rooftop to rooftop, crashes through never-ending windows and doors, I was ready to throw myself down the stairs, in a vain attempt at perhaps breaking the chain of absurdity so far.

Another constant annoyance in the film was that Bourne was either “the source” or was going after “the source”. Only eventually we find out what we already knew before from the first two films, that the narrative (if you can call it that) is of a spy whose makers are ready to kill him and all of their other Jason Bourne spies, in a sort of massive cover-up scheme.

Despite my incessant bitching the film was okay. The innumerable action pieces are exciting and quick; it’s just that they are all so similar. I really like the dark, gritty colouring and, when the film isn’t jolting around on a hand-cam; running, crashing, fighting or shooting, the sharp, droll dialogue seems acceptable.

The Bourne Ultimatum is actually more like a typical roller-coaster ride than a movie; there are tiny moments that leave you exhilarated, but I find going round in an identical loop eventually becomes more than laborious. And if you do decide to see this weakly scripted and repetitive “action thriller”, remember to take your motion sickness pills beforehand.

Emily Paget