Magazine article Newsweek

The Fast and the Curious; 'The Bourne Ultimatum' Races to Its Flashy Finish

Magazine article Newsweek

The Fast and the Curious; 'The Bourne Ultimatum' Races to Its Flashy Finish

Article excerpt

Byline: David Ansen

How fast and furious is the third installment of the Bourne trilogy? Just in the first 15 minutes it charges from a chase in Moscow to CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.; to Turin, Italy; Paris, London and New York City, barely pausing to catch its (or our) breath. The amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is on the run again, closing in on the secret of his identity, outsmarting and outmuscling vast teams of CIA hit men who use every weapon in their arsenal to stop him from discovering the truth about his past.

For action junkies, "The Bourne Ultimatum" will be like a hit of pure meth. It's bravura filmmaking in the jittery, handheld, frenetically edited Paul Greengrass style. That visceral, verite style caught many people by surprise in "The Bourne Supremacy." (They obviously hadn't seen his earlier film about the Irish Troubles, "Bloody Sunday.") But now, after his acclaimed, unnerving "United 93," we know what he can do, and it's momentarily disconcerting to realize that he approaches the high hokum of "Ultimatum" with exactly the same gravitas and pseudo-documentary conviction that he brought to his account of 9/11. The cleverness of the two Greengrass installments is in how he dazzles us with his gritty pixie dust into almost believing they are taking place in the real world. Actually, the biggest stretch in "Ultimatum" is not Bourne's superhuman ability to absorb punishment and keep on truckin' but the movie's gaga portrayal of the CIA as an omnipotent force that operates with lethal, high-tech efficiency. …

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