- "This Summer Bourne comes home"
The Bourne Ultimatum is a 2007 spy film directed by Paul Greengrass and loosely based on the Robert Ludlum novel of the same name. The film is a sequel to The Bourne Supremacy and the third film of the Bourne Trilogy, it stars Matt Damon reprising his role as Ludlum's signature character, amnesiac CIA assassin Jason Bourne. The film continues the saga of Jason Bourne after he apologizes to the daughter of Vladimir Neski in Moscow, Russia, and follows the character as he travels to Paris, London, Madrid, Tangier, and New York City to uncover his real identity, while the CIA continues to send assassins after him.
The Bourne Ultimatum was produced by Universal Pictures and was released on August 3, 2007 in North America, where it grossed $69.2 million in ticket sales in its first weekend of release, making it the highest August opening in the U.S. Although all three films have been commercially successful and critically acclaimed, The Bourne Ultimatum is the only film in the trilogy to have been nominated for an Academy Award; winning all three of its nominations for Best Film Editing, Best Sound, and Best Sound Editing at the 80th Academy Awards.
The movie begins immediately after Bourne apologizes to Irena Neski, daughter of Vladimir Neski, who was Bourne's first target. Wounded from The Bourne Supremacy car chase, Jason Bourne is still evading the Moscow police. Cornered by two officers while breaking into a medical clinic to treat his wounds, Bourne overpowers the officers, knocking one out, while holding the second at gunpoint. He leaves them alive as he escapes.
Six weeks later, Simon Ross, a security correspondent for The Guardian, meets with Neil Daniels, the Madrid CIA station chief, in Turin, to discuss Treadstone. Bourne goes to Paris to tell Marie's brother, Martin, of her death, then heads to London. Bourne arranges to meet Ross in London at the south entrance of Waterloo Station. Ross, however, is under surveillance because his use of the word "Operation Blackbriar" in a phone call to his editor was tracked by ECHELON, alerting the CIA. CIA section chief Noah Vosen alerts his staff to find out any information on Ross, believing that Operation Blackbriar has been compromised.
After receiving a call from Bourne, Ross takes a taxi to Waterloo Station. At the station, Bourne sees CIA officers following Ross and places a prepaid mobile phone on him. Through it, Bourne instructs him how to dodge the station's surveillance. However, Vosen orders an assassin, Paz, to kill Ross and his source. Vosen's team identifies Bourne on a security camera and recognizes him as the original Treadstone assassin, and assumes he is Ross's source. While Paz gets into position with a sniper rifle, Bourne tells Ross to remain hidden, but Ross panics and steps out into the open, giving Paz a clear kill shot. In the chaos, Bourne grabs Ross's notes which reveal Ross's source as Daniels.
Deputy Director Pamela Landy is asked to help capture Bourne. With Landy's help, Vosen and his team determine that Daniels is Ross' source. They send a team to Daniels' office in Madrid, but Bourne arrives first, finding one photograph in an otherwise empty safe as Daniels has already left. Bourne attacks the CIA team members when they enter the office. Right after Bourne secures the room, Nicky Parsons then enters it unexpectedly. Nicky tells him that she was reassigned to Madrid after Berlin, and that Daniels has fled to Tangier. She helps him escape the CIA reinforcements by telling Vosen that Bourne had already left the office. While in Tangier, they realize the CIA has sent assassin Desh Bouksani to eliminate Daniels. Nicky uses her official clearance access to send Desh a message, telling him to meet her for a new phone, thus allowing Bourne to follow Desh to his target. When Vosen realizes Nicky's deceit he orders Desh to kill Nicky and Bourne after terminating Daniels. Landy is outraged at Vosen's willingness to indiscriminately kill CIA personnel and quits the operation.
Bourne follows Desh and is unable to save Daniels, who dies from Desh's planted bomb. When Desh returns for Nicky, Bourne outruns the Tangier police and fights Desh, eventually strangling him with a towel. Bourne has Nicky code in the fact that the both of them are dead to give each of them a head start at disappearing. Bourne then puts Nicky on a bus with the advice that, "It gets easier" (Referring to blending in and disappearing). At the Tangier morgue, Bourne examines Daniels' charred papers and finds the address of the CIA substation in New York City. Bourne takes a flight to New York City and deliberately uses a passport that alerts Landy to his presence. Bourne calls Landy while observing her and Vosen from across the street. Bourne sends a text message to Landy to arrange a meeting. Vosen and his team intercept the message and follow Landy as she leaves the building. However, the meeting is simply a diversion to allow him to enter Vosen's office and steal classified Blackbriar documents.
Vosen recognizes the diversion after receiving a phone call from Bourne in which he states he is in Vosen's office. Vosen frantically orders CIA officers back to his office to capture Bourne. Bourne escapes and enters into a car chase with CIA officers and Paz. The chase ends with a crash in which Paz is seen injured but alive. Bourne, unharmed, aim his gun at him but spares his life and walks away.
Just outside the Treadstone facility, Bourne meets Landy and gives her the stolen documents from Vosen's office before entering the building. On his way back to his office, Vosen eventually works out that Landy gave Bourne an address in code when Landy told Bourne his date of birth. Vosen races to the facility where Landy finishes faxing away the Blackbriar documents that Bourne stole and walks away. Inside, Bourne meets Dr. Albert Hirsch, who ran Treadstone's psychological conditioning program. With his help, Bourne remembers that, as Captain David Webb, he volunteered for the program and killed a man in cold blood to show his commitment to the program. Horrified by the memory of what he did to complete his conditioning and to assume the Jason Bourne identity, he tells Hirsch, "I remember everything. I'm no longer Jason Bourne."
CIA agents appear and chase after Bourne, but he flees to the rooftop. Paz reaches Bourne first and holds him at gunpoint. He demands to know why Bourne spared his life. "Do you even know why you're supposed to kill me? Look at us. Look at what they make you give," says Bourne, repeating the dying words of the The Professor, the Treadstone operative from The Bourne Identity. Paz lowers his weapon, but Vosen appears and fires at Bourne just as he jumps from the roof into the East River below.
Some time later, Nicky sees a news report noting the exposure of Blackbriar, the arrests of Hirsch and Vosen, that Ezra Kramer is the subject of a United States Senate hearing regarding his conduct and that Bourne was shot and fell into the Manhattan East River but his body was not recovered, even after a three-day search. As Nicky smiles, in the final moments of the film, Bourne is shown swimming in the East River, escaping his pursuer in a scene similar to the start of The Bourne Identity.
Comparison with novel
- Matt Damon as Jason Bourne (Captain David Webb): an amnesiac assassin formerly based in Paris. The main protagonist of the film.
- Julia Stiles as Nicky Parsons: formerly Bourne's Treadstone contact in Paris, she was assigned to Madrid after attempts to capture Bourne in Berlin and Russia failed. She is the only character besides Bourne to appear in all three films.
- David Strathairn as Noah Vosen: CIA Deputy Director, head of Operation Blackbriar, a renamed and upgraded Operation Treadstone.
- Joan Allen as Pamela Landy: a CIA Deputy Director, Landy is working with Vosen to track and capture Bourne.
- Paddy Considine as Simon Ross: a British journalist of the newspaper The Guardian who has been uncovering the secrets behind the origin of Operation Treadstone, and Bourne's past.
- Albert Finney as Dr. Albert Hirsch: the CIA specialist who supervised Bourne's behavior modification training prior to Operation Treadstone.
- Scott Glenn as Ezra Kramer: Director of the CIA.
- Colin Stinton as Neil Daniels: CIA Station Chief in Madrid.
- Joey Ansah as Desh Bouksani: a Blackbriar assassin out of Casablanca, sent to Tangier to take out Daniels.
- Edgar Ramirez as Paz: a Blackbriar assassin out of Naples.
- Tom Gallop as Tom Cronin: Pamela Landy's assistant.
- Corey Johnson as Ray Wills: Vosen's deputy at Operation Blackbriar.
- Daniel Brühl as Martin Kreutz: Marie's half brother.
- Dan Fredenburgh as Jimmy
- Lucy Liemann as Lucy
- Bryan Reents as technician
- Arkie Reece as technician
- John Roberson as technician
- Russ Huards as technician
- Mark Bazeley as Betancourt
- Sinead O'Keefe as Chamberlain
- Chucky Venice as agent Hammond
- Scott Adkins as agent Kiley
- Branko Tomovic as Russian policeman
- Laurentiu Possa as Russian policeman
- Trevor St. John as Tactical team leader
- Albert Jones as Tactical team agent
- Jeffrey Lee Gibson as Vosen's driver
- Uriel Emil as morgue attendant
- Omar Hernandez as NYPD officer
- William H. Burns as NYPD officer
- Michael Wildman as CRI agent
- Kai Martin as hoody
The Bourne Ultimatum was filmed at the Pinewood Studios in London and in multiple locations around the world, including Tangier, London, Paris, Madrid (as itself and double for Turin), Berlin (as double for Moscow), New York City, and other locations in the U.S.
References to previous films
Within the series
In the audio commentary for the current DVD release of The Bourne Ultimatum, director Paul Greengrass confirmed the following scenes were deliberate allusions to scenes from the previous installments of the Bourne film franchise:
- The opening chase sequence of The Bourne Ultimatum is a continuation of the Russian police attempts to capture Bourne in Moscow near the end of The Bourne Supremacy and takes place immediately following Bourne's apology to Neski's daughter in the previous film.
- The scene where Bourne tells Martin of his sister Marie's death is very similar to the ending of The Bourne Supremacy, when Bourne apologizes to the Neskis' daughter for killing her parents.
- After Bourne tells Nicky she will have to run, Nicky dyes and cuts her hair, similar to the scene in The Bourne Identity with Marie dyeing and cutting her hair.
- During the car chase with Paz, Bourne's car is destroyed in a similar fashion to Kirill's in the climax of The Bourne Supremacy. The sequence also includes similar staging, such as Bourne walking up to Paz with gun in hand but deciding not to shoot.
- In the rooftop climax, Bourne tells Paz, "Look at us. Look at what they make you give," reiterating the dying words of The Professor (Clive Owen) in The Bourne Identity.
- The scene at the end of The Bourne Supremacy in which Bourne tells Landy she looks tired is in The Bourne Ultimatum when he arrives in New York.
- The ending of The Bourne Ultimatum, with Bourne floating motionless in the East River, echoes the opening scene of The Bourne Identity, which utilizes a similar image.
Outside of the series
- The scene featuring Bourne desperately trying to catch a glimpse of Paz after Ross is gunned down is, according to Greengrass, a "wink" to one of his favorite films, The French Connection.
- The scenes set in Tangiers echo the famous "cafe" scene from the film The Battle of Algiers.
- Benefit premiere — A premiere of The Bourne Ultimatum was held in downtown Oklahoma City on July 31, 2007, at Harkins Bricktown Theaters to benefit The Children's Center, located in suburban Bethany, Oklahoma. The film was shown simultaneously on three screens. Matt Damon was at the event to greet guests.
- UK premiere — The film premiered at Leicester Square in London on August 15, 2007, with Matt Damon, Julia Stiles and Joan Allen attending. The film was released the next day.
- Australian premiere — The film premiered in Sydney on August 8, 2007, at the State Theatre, with Matt Damon attending. The Bourne Ultimatum was released nationwide on August 30, 2007.
- Home Video Release — The film was released on both DVD and HD DVD Combo Format on December 11, 2007 in North America. The DVD was released in both Fullscreen and 2.35:1 Widescreen aspect ratios. The HD DVD and DVD special features includes several deleted scenes, featurettes, audio commentary, and exclusively on the HD DVD version, HDi Interactive Format features such as Picture-in-Picture Video Commentary.
In addition to the stand alone DVD release, there is a limited edition 'The Jason Bourne Collection' gift set, featuring all three films on DVD and a bonus disc with a myriad of bonus features such as deleted scenes and featurettes. The gift set features Swiss Bank safe deposit box packaging including foreign currency and a Jason Bourne passport.
The film and special features on the HD DVD version are presented in 2:35:1 Widescreen high definition 1080p and offer Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 lossless and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio options.
The Bourne Ultimatum earned $69.2 million during its opening weekend at the box office, a record for a single opening in August As of September 2008, the film has a 93% fresh rating (202 out of 217 positive reviews) at Rotten Tomatoes, higher than either predecessor. The film had a rating of 85/100 on Metacritic, again higher than the first two films. At the end of its theatrical release, the film grossed at total of $227,471,070 in the U.S., making it the highest grossing film in the series.
Like its predecessor, The Bourne Supremacy, the film was criticized for its shaky camera work, as Richard Corliss of Time magazine, in an otherwise positive review, wondered "why, in the chat scenes, the camera is afflicted with Parkinson's? The film frame trembles, obscures the speaker with the listener's shoulder, annoys viewers and distracts them from the content of the scene."
In the British press, the inclusion of a fictional journalist from the real British paper The Guardian and scenes set in the United Kingdom (particularly Waterloo railway station) were commented upon. In particular, that newspaper's reviewer took great amusement in the portrayal of a guardian reporter, Simon Ross, joking that "dodging bullets from a CIA sniper... is the sort of thing which happens to us Guardian journalists all the time."
Top ten lists
The film appeared on several critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2007.
- 1st - Empire
- 1st — Best Action/Adventure, Rotten Tomatoes
- 2nd — Claudia Puig, USA Today
- 2nd — Steven Rea, The Philadelphia Inquirer
- 2nd — Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
- 9th — Rene Rodriguez, The Miami Herald
- 10th — Christy Lemire, Associated Press.
The film won Academy Awards in all three (second highest amount of awards at the ceremony) of its nominations at the 80th Academy Awards:
- Christopher Rouse for Best Film Editing
- Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis for Best Sound
- Karen M. Baker and Per Hallberg for Best Sound Editing
- ITV3 Crime Thriller Award for Film of the Year, 2008
In May 2007, prior to the release of Bourne Ultimatum, Matt Damon claimed that he would not be interested in returning for a fourth Bourne film, stating (of his participation in the Bourne franchise): "We have ridden that horse as far as we can." Damon even said in an interview that director Paul Greengrass joked that a fourth film could be titled "The Bourne Redundancy." Nonetheless, the financial and critical success of Bourne Ultimatum has led to speculation in several magazines and Internet forums that another Bourne film might be produced. On February 22, 2008, Variety reported that a fourth film was indeed in the works, with both Damon and Greengrass on board.
However, on March 9, 2008, Damon and Greengrass claimed they had not agreed to another Bourne film. Damon stated "There are a lot of things that would have to happen before we would sign up for it." On June 25, 2008, producers Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley said in an interview to IESB.net there would be a fourth Bourne film. Marshall said "Hopefully they will be shooting next summer for a release in 2010 and our favorite anti-hero is apparently headed to South America." On October 16th it was announced that George Nolfi would write the script, with Frank Marshall producing, and Jeffrey Weiner and Henry Morrison executive producing. Matt Damon, Julia Stiles and Paul Greengrass are also attached to the film.
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