movies, music and everything else

This blog is about pretty much what the title implies... movies, music and everything else.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

I like movies, music and everything esle... ; ) oh... and i can't spell, so, please, no comments

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

WELCOME HOME, Jason Bourne!

FINALLY a conclusion to a trilogy this summer that is actually worth going to the movies for…
If you have not seen the first two installments of the Bourne franchise, do yourself a favor. Stop reading. Watch them. THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM is the conclusion to the Bourne story and what a conclusion it is. This is every bit the movie that the fans will be hoping for. Being more of a continuation of the second film (THE BOURNE SUPREMECY) than a stand-alone film, there is not that much as far as a separate plot goes.
Jason Bourne has lost everything in his life (including his identity and the woman that he loved) and he is on a personal mission to find out not only who he is, but the people responsible for making him that way. The result is a non-stop adrenaline ride that spans countries like Russia, England, Italy, Morocco, and finally back home to the United States. THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM begins literally where the second one finishes because it is really one story. His quest is not over and as the memories are starting to come back, he gets closer to finding out the truth.
The Bourne films are centered on two things: Matt Damon and the style of the films (created by Doug Lyman and then perfected in 2 & 3 by Paul Greengrass). Damon is one of the best actors working today and he continues to impress and surprise here. He is tortured, driven, cold and calculating, and relentless as the assassin Bourne. His performance gets better and better with each film. There is not a second while watching this film when I have any doubt that he is capable of everything that he is doing. The weight of his past and the uncertainty of his identity is present throughout and key to driving the character and the story. It is a layered and complex performance that is rare in any film, especially a summer action film.
Paul Greengrass is one of the finest directors on the planet and he chose to follow up his Oscar nominated film UNITED 93 with another Bourne installment. The skill is there and he never skips a beat to create the heart pounding action and tension in every frame. Many people have tried to adapt a “hand held” style of filmmaking to infuse some realism and energy into a movie, but no one can do it like Greengrass. This movie is non-stop action and adrenaline. There is no setup, so it just keeps running at full speed from where THE BOURNE SUPREMECY left off and it never really slows down. This is also a rare sequel that does not simply try and top its predecessor. The first two films were famous for their car chases and while there are a few chases in the film this time around, he does not try and do it bigger and better, he just does it extremely well and it serves the story.
That being said, the movie is not perfect by any means. First of all there is the use of the flashbacks throughout that are slightly over stylized and distracting at times. These flashbacks lead to the biggest problem with the film and that is the obligatory explanation that we have waited three films for. We all know that it is coming, but when it does, it is the only time where the movie seems to lose its momentum, but only for a moment. A slight misstep, but one that could not really be avoided with the story that is being told.
There is also the subject of the cast. Returning to the film is Joan Allen (who continues to deliver strong performances) and the groan inducing Julia Stiles. I hope that one day someone will actually realize that Stiles is a bad actress and should be relegated to straight to DVD fair for the rest of her career. It has gotten to the point where when she is passable, people think she is good. Ugh… She actually is passable for most of the film, but her first scene is something that a community theater would be embarrassed about. Joining the cast this time around is the always fantastic Paddy Considine in a nice turn as a reporter, Albert Finney, Scott Glenn and David Strathairn.
The casting has crossed the line at this point. It is not necessary to cast “names” simply because you can. There comes a point where when a minor character pops up and it is a recognizable face, it is plain distracting. That is how I felt about Glenn and Finney. I am a fan of both, but they are just distracting in the film. Strathairn is a little over the top and moustache twirling here as Noah Vosen (deputy director of the CIA) but it only really stands out a couple times.
All things aside though, THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM is the movie that I have been waiting for most of the summer and I was not disappointed. This is a fast paced, kinetic, thrilling conclusion to a fantastic trilogy. If you liked the first two (especially the 2nd) you will not be let down here.


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