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The Bourne Ultimatum


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Link to the Bourne Supremacy thread,

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Argh. I don't understand why the search mechanism on this board doesn't seem to work for me. More news here. My apologies.

And, SDG, you are right about my Greengrass comment, I forgot to toss Liman in there. FWIW, the first two did have the same screenwriter, which goes a long way towards explaining why both books made it to the screen the same way.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

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  • 1 month later...

Bernal may be bad guy for new "Bourne"

"The Bourne Ultimatum," the third installment of the hit action series, began shooting this week in Tangier, but it is still without a worthy nemesis for its amnesiac spy hero, Jason Bourne.

With the clock ticking, an offer has gone out to Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal to take on the role, though negotiations have not yet begun. Bernal, whose credits include "Amores Perros," "Y Tu Mama Tambien" and "The Motorcycle Diaries," is currently in theaters with Michel Gondry's whimsical comedy-drama "The Science of Sleep."

Matt Damon reprises his title role, and Joan Allen and Julia Stiles are also back, as is Paul Greengrass, who directed the 2004 sequel "The Bourne Supremacy." David Strathairn ("Good Night, and Good Luck") is new to the cast. . . .

Hollywood Reporter, October 3

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 5 months later...

Unusually (for me) this means there's a big summer film that's actually worth looking forward to!

Pleased to see that Paddy Considine is in this. I've enjoyed what I've seen of him so far.

Focus: The Art and Soul of Cinema now published - www.damaris.org/focus

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  • 3 months later...

I didn't feel much of anything about the first film, but liked the second quite a bit as a purely kinetic film. It moved. But it seems to me that, at the time the second film was released, the reaction among most critics was typical: "Yeah, this movie is pretty good, but it's not as good as the first film."

Now Kris Tapley says the third film completes a trilogy in which each film improves on its predecessor.

I'm not so interested in what each person thinks of that statement, but as far as the first two films go, do you accept the premise? In other words, has the critical consensus now, uh, evolved to where it's generally accepted that the sequel is superior to the first film in the series? If so, that's news to me.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I like the existing films about equally, which is to say, 3 1/2 stars / B-plus. Maybe even A-minus. (That reflects an appreciation of the first film that has grown from first viewing.)

The original film has a stronger premise and a central relationship missing in the sequel, but the sequel offers a more satisfying moral vision of a character struggling to take responsibility for his past and to chart a positive course going forward. It also deepens Bourne's love of Marie beyond need-based attachment to real moral commitment even after she is no longer with him.

I was gonna see the third film tomorrow night, but I had to pass until Thursday.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

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Christian,

I don't know if I'd count as representative of critical opinion, but as much as I liked the first when it came out, I've felt like the 2nd was a better film since the day it came out. I remember feeling elated that it was not only as good as the first, but actually seemed to improve on it. My personal recollection is that that was the general feeling as well, even at the time - that supremacy was actually better than identity - but I could be remembering incorrectly. Which is why I unfortunately have such high hopes for this one. I haven't seen the first one in a while though, so I'll be curious to see which I prefer upon a fresh back-to-back viewing I'm having with some friends Wednesday night.

EDIT: Just took a quick look at Rotten Tomatoes. There seems to be a fairly even splattering of "Better than the first film" and "Not quite as good as the first film" in the snapshot comments. The ratings are pretty much dead even as well. (83% for Identity, 82% for Supremacy) Looks like a toss-up...

Edited by popechild

"You guys don't really know who you're dealing with."

"Oh yeah, and who exactly are we dealing with?"

"I'm the mother flippin' rhymenoceros."

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I have preferred the first one since the day it opened, and over time, that opinion has only grown. But they've both aged very well, and so I am STOKED about this one.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Another very positive verdict is in. Todd McCarthy's review from Variety.

If they could bottle what gives "The Bourne Ultimatum" its rush, it would probably be illegal....

In setting Jason Bourne on the home stretch of his search to discover who and what made him the killing machine he is, director Paul Greengrass has outdone himself, creating a film of such sustained energy and tension that the infrequent pauses for breath seem startling in their quietude. In other hands, unrelenting nervous camera movement and machine-gun cutting prove wearying more often than not, but Greengrass skillfully employs both not only in the service of excitement, but for the accentuation of telling detail and discreet parceling out of information....

It may not have been entirely apparent at first, but Bourne is unquestionably Damon's signature role, the one in which a viewer becomes most complicit in the actor's identification with a character. The subjective camerawork merely augments the degree to which one is completely with him in the series, and if this is indeed his last "Bourne," as he has said, then this is a performance to be savored all the more.

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

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Christian, I regret to say that I have not seen either film since its initial release. My thoughts about the 2nd film are stronger, but that is partly because I actually wrote a review of the 2nd film, and not only that, but I saw the 2nd film a second time in order to get a better sense of some of its themes for a magazine article I was writing at the time. Like SDG, I suspect that if I were to see the two films back-to-back, I might miss the girlfriend in the 2nd film, but I might also appreciate the 2nd film's increased moral sensibility. (The fact that the director of the 2nd film went on to make United 93, whereas the director of the 1st film went on to make ... that Brangelina flick ... may also tilt some critics towards a preference for the 2nd film.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Christian,

I don't know if I'd count as representative of critical opinion, but as much as I liked the first when it came out, I've felt like the 2nd was a better film since the day it came out. I remember feeling elated that it was not only as good as the first, but actually seemed to improve on it. My personal recollection is that that was the general feeling as well, even at the time - that supremacy was actually better than identity - but I could be remembering incorrectly. Which is why I unfortunately have such high hopes for this one. I haven't seen the first one in a while though, so I'll be curious to see which I prefer upon a fresh back-to-back viewing I'm having with some friends Wednesday night.

EDIT: Just took a quick look at Rotten Tomatoes. There seems to be a fairly even splattering of "Better than the first film" and "Not quite as good as the first film" in the snapshot comments. The ratings are pretty much dead even as well. (83% for Identity, 82% for Supremacy) Looks like a toss-up...

Well, I re-watched both 1 & 2 last night again. I'll preface by saying I was dead tired and fell asleep for a bit during #2, but I did see the whole thing not too long ago. With that said, I'm strongly considering swithing my preference to Identity by a hair. I absolutely love the car chase in Ultimatum, and re-watching the car chase in Identity made me miss the Greengrass version even more, but Identity is just a bit more streamlined, whereas Ultimatum gets a little too complicated for its own good in places. Still big big fans of both though. (When I had the chance to meet Damon back in 2005, the first question I asked him was "Is there going to be an Ultimatum"...)

"You guys don't really know who you're dealing with."

"Oh yeah, and who exactly are we dealing with?"

"I'm the mother flippin' rhymenoceros."

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Question for anyone screening The Bourne Ultimatum to watch for. (Kinda-sorta spoilers ahead, not regarding plot, only structure.)

I saw it last Thursday, and turned in the print version of my review this morning. However, I'm not entirely clear on the chronology of this film in relation to the previous sequel -- which I did recently rewatch, FWIW.

Unless I missed something, it looks to me as if the events in the first half of this film at least partly overlap with events in the last act of The Bourne Supremacy. This film opens by recapping events from the last act of Supremacy.

Then we get a caption reading "Six weeks earlier," which looking back I think (I may be misremembering) jumps us back before the end of Supremacy. Then, maybe halfway through Ultimatum, we suddenly catch up with the end of Supremacy again and go from there.

So is the idea that Supremacy has holes in it that Ultimatum has now filled in? If so, how do the pieces fit together? Or did I miss something and I'm just really confused? (Obviously I would definitely recommend rewatching Supremacy immediately before seeing Ultimatum.

The odd thing to me is that not only is this not mentioned in any of the reviews I've read so far, I haven't found it mentioned anywhere else either.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Yikes.

Yikes, SDG, yikes.

And here I was wondering if I should bother to re-watch the first two films before seeing the third film -- something that is not so easy to do any more, what with the kids and the stay-at-home-dad-ness and everything.

Suddenly my week looks like it could get a lot more complicated.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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FWIW, you don't need to rewatch Identity (except as a matter of critical freshness), but yeah, I would definitely recommend rewatching Supremacy as an aid to following the continuity of the last two films.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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SDG wrote:

: Unless I missed something, it looks to me as if the events in the first half of this film at least partly overlap with events in the last act of The Bourne Supremacy. This film opens by recapping events from the last act of Supremacy.

How exactly does the film begin? I regret to say that I missed the first few minutes, though when I entered the theatre, Bourne was still in Russia -- this is before the title comes up. (My wife, who was there before I was, said Bourne had escaped from the police or something.) (It was 7:12 when I entered the theatre, and 9:05 when the end credits came to a close, and the film is reportedly 115 minutes long, so I apparently missed only 2 minutes.)

: Then we get a caption reading "Six weeks earlier," which looking back I think (I may be misremembering) jumps us back before the end of Supremacy.

I jotted "Six weeks later" in my notes, so I think you are in error there.

: Then, maybe halfway through Ultimatum, we suddenly catch up with the end of Supremacy again and go from there.

More than halfway, actually. It was 8:29 -- or slightly more than two-thirds into the film -- when Ultimatum caught up with the end of Supremacy.

: So is the idea that Supremacy has holes in it that Ultimatum has now filled in? If so, how do the pieces fit together?

It seems to me that the first two-thirds of Ultimatum take place between the climax of Supremacy and the epilogue of Supremacy, and then the final one-third of Ultimatum takes place after the epilogue of Supremacy. (I say this without having had a chance to re-watch Supremacy.)

I am not entirely sure how I feel about this, BTW, since I always rather liked the epilogue of Supremacy and thought it gave the film a nice and fairly relaxed coda, but NOW we discover that the epilogue of Supremacy was actually a tense moment in the middle of a series of chases and shoot-outs and bureaucratic backstabbings. Yikes. Will I ever be able to watch the epilogue to Supremacy the same way ever again?

At any rate, this seems to me like the most audacious re-imagining of a movie's epilogue since... since... Back to the Future Part II, maybe? (Yes, for the most part, that film merely re-staged the epilogue that we saw in the original Back to the Future... but the sequel DOES add the pertinent detail that Biff himself witnessed the flying car.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Christian, I prefer the first movie to the second. Primarily, because of Bourne's relationship with Marie, and Identity came out a time when I was tapping into things in the Spirit. I relate to the story of having skills which Bourne is not fully aware of why he has.

Most of this is personal preference, and the difference is slight, but I prefer Liman's pacing. Plus, I do not like some of the hand-held action scenes in Supremacy.

"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - Groucho Marx

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Plus, I do not like some of the hand-held action scenes in Supremacy.

You're gonna hate The Bourne Ultimatum. :)

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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SDG wrote:

: FWIW, my review.

And mine.

: At the same time, Ultimatum suggests that unprincipled assimilating tactics can mitigate an individual's culpability for choices made under duress, but doesn't exempt the assimilated from the obligations of conscience under the rubric of following orders.

Whoa. Serious whiplash. :)

: Glimpses of waterboarding and hooded prisoners enhance the resonances with current events, though the angle is humanistic rather than political.

Hmmm, I'm not so sure. Then again, we ARE told that Bourne joined the CIA's black-ops team in 1999, right? Which would be pre-9/11, pre-Bush, etc. (And did you get a Batman Begins vibe off of one of the climactic revelations?)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Whoa. Serious whiplash. :)

Yeah, I have that problem.

Hmmm, I'm not so sure. Then again, we ARE told that Bourne joined the CIA's black-ops team in 1999, right? Which would be pre-9/11, pre-Bush, etc. (And did you get a Batman Begins vibe off of one of the climactic revelations?)

Hm. You saw my X2 connection... what was the BB connection?

FWIW, ours are the only reviews I've read that mention the water connecting the opening of the first film with the conclusion of this one. There we go again. :)

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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SDG wrote:

: Hm. You saw my X2 connection... what was the BB connection?

Excecution as a form of initiation into a secretive community of crime-punishers, etc

.

: FWIW, ours are the only reviews I've read that mention the water connecting the opening of the first film with the conclusion of this one. There we go again. :)

Well, I didn't specify the conclusion. :) When I say "the new film makes much of the role that water has played throughout this series", I also had in mind a sequence fairly early on that links some of the new flashbacks to some of the watery scenes in the first two movies.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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