The Bourne Ultimatum
The Bourne Ultimatum possesses a visual and narrative urgency that is as much a worldview as a device of suspense; as action cinema, this film hits an entirely different level of mastery. A defining draw of the series thus far has been the unity of brains and brawn in the titular hero, and both get a workout via several spellbinding set pieces. The pleasures of watching Bourne run the game at a distance are plentiful, but it is when he gets rough and running that Ultimatum truly hits its stride. A car chase through Manhattan easily rivals Supremacy‘s Berlin-set finale, but it is a car chase-turned-free-run-turned-fistfight in Tangiers that cements the film as one of this young century’s finest action pictures. Keeping the camera rattling and whip-panning to sustain the frenetic mood, Paul Greengrass nonetheless maintains continuity of motion across myriad shots so that we can still discern the who, what, and where of each scene. Meanwhile, the percussive score pounds like Ennio Morricone’s work from The Battle of Algiers; the sound editing is so detailed as to be tactile, and the momentum of it all carries us into a state of kinetic bliss.