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Andy Bockelman: Born to be ‘Bourne’

Matt Damon thrives in final chapter of assassin trilogy

One of the most intelligent movies of the summer, “The Bourne Ultimatum” sets a new standard in films about espionage with its enigmatic hero as well as its simultaneously complex and simple plot.

Assassin Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), still dead-set on uncovering the events of his own life (which he can only vaguely remember as a result of amnesia), believes he has found someone who can tell him what he wants to know about the covert institution which has ruined his life.

Before he can get the information from reporter Simon Ross (Paddy Considine), events unfold which confirm the members of the CIA operation Blackbriar (a revamp of Operation Treadstone from the first film) already are well aware of Bourne’s intentions, and plan to do everything necessary to stop him from tracking down his past.

Damon is at his best as Bourne, an expert in surveillance and direct combat among other things. Damon makes it clear that most of Bourne’s actions are deeply ingrained instinct. Julia Stiles has a bigger part to play in this installment as Nicky Parsons, another CIA operative who is vital to Bourne’s unearthing of the truth. Joan Allen returns as well as Deputy Director Pamela Lundy, who is intent on catching Bourne because of the threat he poses to the agency, yet unsure whether or not he is the greater of two evils when compared to fanatical Blackbriar head Noah Vosen (David Strathairn). Filling out several new roles nicely are Scott Glenn, Albert Finney and Edgar Ramirez.

What makes “The Bourne Ultimatum” such a spectacular action film is that it is made with such unobtrusiveness.

Director Paul Greengrass, who took over the series after Doug Liman directed “The Bourne Identity,” unfortunately changed the tone in “The Bourne Supremacy,” but gets it right with “Ultimatum.” The makers of the Bourne films appreciate the value of silence and that is part of what makes the movies so unique in their ambiance, especially when combined with the thrill-a-minute action sequences which are interspersed abundantly. Another perk is the unsteady camerawork (which admittedly, some may find to be exasperating and gratuitous) that attempts to draw in viewers with a sense of realism. All of this is additionally enriched by the international landscapes of Madrid, London and Tangiers, Morocco, just a few of the locations Bourne plows through in his quest.

Exciting, sly and downright brilliant, “The Bourne Ultimatum” features all you could want in a movie, not the least of which, Matt Damon in the role he was born to play.

Now playing at the West Theater.


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