Sunday, September 09, 2007

Bourne yesterday

Went to the Showcase cinema in Bristol yesterday to see The Bourne Ultimatum. And you know what? It's pretty good. Aerial Telly makes a couple of good points, in particular that for a so-called suspense thriler it's remarkably free of suspense - Bourne loses his memory in the first film, discovers in the same film that he's a former CIA assassin, and, erm, well, that's about it for suspense. The main suspense in the third film is, having discovered that he was, pre-amnesia, knobbing the Julia Stiles character (and why not?), whether Bourne will do it again before the end of the movie.

To its credit the film doesn't adhere to the standard secret agent thriller cliché in this department; to be fair it also delivers handsomely on the other half of the suspense thriller deal, i.e. the thrills. Shooting, fighting, car chases, CIA skullduggery (including a nicely weaselly turn from David Strathairn as the head of a covert CIA operation - yes, another one), bombs, murdering people with a towel in a shower cubicle, the works. It's also just slightly subversive in a sly sort of way; the general theme of unaccountable secret government agencies practising kidnap, assassination and torture outside the reach of the law, and this being something to be resisted rather than celebrated à la 24 or Bond, could be seen as a dig by British director Paul Greengrass at the USA of extraordinary rendition, Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Or maybe not. Note also how shockingly Scott Glenn has aged since Silence Of The Lambs - I know it was 16 years ago, but still.

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