The Bourne Ultimatum, directed by Paul Greengrass, is the third and final installment of the Bourne franchise. As anticipated, Ultimatum is a non-stop, hold-your-breathe; action-packed finale that will leave viewers feeling as though they survived every car chase and altercation along side Jason Bourne, instead of simply looking in on Bourne’s quest. In Greengrass’s Ultimatum, Jason Bourne returns from hiding in search of his identity with only fractured memories but, before he can fight for his past, he must first fight for his life as cunning rival assassins await him at every turn. Using effective, yet controversial camera techniques, Paul Greengrass fully submerges the viewer into a visual façade of immediate danger. Bourne played by Matt Damon, keeps up with Greengrass’s intensity with realistic tension and combat among characters but also, by capturing an element of depth and development often lost in franchise films (Puig). The memorable conclusion to the impressive Bourne trilogy receives praise from renowned critics for its fantastic lead actor, talented director and non-stop action.
The majority of expert critics agree that Bourne Ultimatum’s flaws do not affect the overall success of the motion picture but these blemishes are still present. Critic David Edelstein in particular has a difficult time seeing past these weaknesses. In his article, Edelstein writes that the camera work within Ultimatum crosses the line from artistic to flat out nauseating (64). Mick LaSalle, movie critic for the SFGate Chronicle, agrees that Greengrass’s use of the handheld camera is rather liberal but he concurs that overall the quality of the film is not drastically affected by the shaking camera. Edelstein also claims that Matt Damon does not portray a character the audience can feel for, and his lack of emotion leaves an element of empathy missing from the film (64). Overall, critics disagree with Edelstein’s statement on Damon, calling his performance “satisfying” and “convincing”. Though Edelstein makes negative statements against Damon, the negativity is easily refuted by the outpour of positive reviews of the actor’s performance.
Matt Damon, the actor portraying lead character Jason Bourne, really contributes to the success of Ultimatum. What makes Damon successful in his portrayal of Bourne is how realistically he plays an assassin wreaking havoc on those who wrong him (Puig). Critics call him a “haunted machine” (Gleiberman) as he takes out his enemies methodically but with an eerily cool and controlled look plastered on his face (Traves). In contrast to Edelstein’s claims, critic Robert Ebert sings Damon’s praises saying Damon provides, “a character you care about even if you don’t believe he exists.” Although, the actor provides a noteworthy performance to carry Ultimatum, the dynamic workings of Damon and Greengrass soar the film to new heights.
Director Paul Greengrass can be given a lot of credit for the success in the...