THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM
Cast : Matt Damon, Julia Stiles
Direction : Paul Greengrass
Rating : ****
Hey, move over James Bond. Bourne, Jason Bourne’s back. The third and reportedly final edition in the series, inspired by Robert Ludlum’s bestsellers, is surely the most compelling thriller in recent memory. Fast, furious and feisty.
With visual brio, director Greengrass (United 93) keeps us riveted with such a slam-bang style that The Bourne Identity (2002) and
The Bourne Supremacy (2004) appear to be a panda bear’s picnic.
From the opening pursuit in a crowded London train station, through a breathless rooftop skirmish in Tangier, right up to the metal-screeching car chase in Manhattan, the action is pure 24-carat gold.
Displaying an array of flourishes--- jerky hand-held camerawork, eye startling editing, a pulsating background music score --- Ultimatum takes us right into the mind of the amnesiac spy (Damon). Inevitably, we fly club class with him through such glamorous locations as Madrid, Paris and Munich.
The plot’s straight and simple: a covert government organisation led by an amoral agent (David Strathairn) is determined to prevent Bourne from discovering his real identity. Suffice it to say, the intricately designed screenplay culminates in a punch-packed ending.
The still boyish Matt Damon is physically agile as ever. As a sympathetic federal investigator, Joan Allen is impressively restrained. Stathairn and old-timer Albert Finney, as an unscrupulous doctor, make for appropriately diabolical baddies.
Our only grouse is that Julia Stiles is wasted in the dispensable part of a globetrotting C.I.A. agent. Ignore this two-hour adrenalin rush at your own risk.