The Bourne Ultimatum
|The Bourne Ultimatum is a 2007 American action thriller spy film directed by Paul Greengrass and very loosely based on the Robert Ludlum novel of the same title. This film is the third in the Bourne film series, being preceded by The Bourne Identity (2002) and The Bourne Supremacy (2004). The fourth movie, The Bourne Legacy, is scheduled for release in August 2012.
Matt Damon reprises his role as Ludlum’s signature character, former CIA assassin and psychogenic amnesiac Jason Bourne. The film picks up the storyline from the previous film, and continues Bourne’s saga after he escapes from authorities in Moscow. The script was written by Tony Gilroy, Scott Z. Burns, George Nolfi and an uncredited Tom Stoppard. The producers were Frank Marshall, Pat Crowley and Paul L. Sandberg.
The Bourne Ultimatum was produced by Universal Pictures and was released on August 3, 2007, in North America, where it grossed $69.3 million in ticket sales in its first weekend of release, making it the highest August opening in the U.S. and Matt Damon’s highest grossing film with him in the lead. 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 any Academy Award, winning all three of its nominations for Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing at the 80th Academy Awards. The film was also well received in the hacker subculture, as it showed actual real-world applications such as the Bourne-again shell and Nmap, unlike many other films featuring hacking scenes (such as Hackers).
Former CIA assassin Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) eludes Moscow police and goes into hiding after being shot by Russian FSB agent Kirill (in The Bourne Supremacy). He is also being haunted by a resurfacing memory of walking down a hallway with two men who are talking about a “program.” Six weeks later, The Guardian Security Correspondent Simon Ross (Paddy Considine) meets with a source to discuss Bourne and Operation Treadstone. The CIA begin tracking Ross when he mentions “Operation Blackbriar” on a mobile phone call to his editor. Bourne travels to Paris to inform Marie’s brother, Martin (Daniel Brühl), of her death and assures him he’s hunting her killers. In London, Bourne meets with Ross at Waterloo Station after learning of Ross’ investigation of Treadstone. When Bourne realizes that the CIA is tracking Ross, he helps him evade capture, but Ross deviates from Bourne’s instructions and is killed by Blackbriar “asset” (assassin) Paz (Édgar Ramírez) on orders from Blackbriar’s director Noah Vosen (David Strathairn).
CIA Director Ezra Kramer (Scott Glenn) sends Pamela Landy (Joan Allen), who unsuccessfully hunted Bourne six weeks earlier, to help Vosen after he spots Bourne in a CCTV camera feed. After searching Ross’ notes, they deduce that his source was Neal Daniels (Colin Stinton), CIA Station Chief in Madrid, who was formerly involved in Treadstone and is actively involved in Blackbriar. Bourne, having taken Ross’ bag after he was killed, follows the notes in his notebook to Daniels’ Madrid office but finds it empty. Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), a former Treadstone support technician, arrives shortly after Bourne incapacitates the CIA field team sent by Vosen and Landy to capture him. She decides to help Bourne escape another incoming CIA squad and tells him Daniels fled to Tangier. It is implied that Parsons and Bourne had a deep, possibly romantic relationship before he lost his memory.
Upon arriving in Tangier, Parsons hacks into the CIA database to locate Daniels but fails, finding that Blackbriar asset Desh Bouksani (Joey Ansah) has been tasked with killing him. Vosen learns of Parsons’ log-in attempt and orders Desh to kill her as well as Bourne, a decision Landy disagrees with. Afterwards, Vosen calls Kramer and confirms their intentions to use Landy as the scapegoat if things go wrong. Bourne tails Desh to Daniels but fails to prevent Daniels’ death by a roadside bomb. He does, however, protect Parsons by strangling Desh after an intense hand-to-hand fight and later sends her into hiding. Upon examining the contents of Daniels’ charred briefcase, Bourne finds the address of the deep cover CIA bureau in New York City where Vosen directs Blackbriar.
Bourne travels to New York; Landy receives a phone call (in a repetition of the final scene of The Bourne Supremacy) which is revealed to be tapped by Vosen. Landy thanks Bourne for the tape he sent her which revealed the corrupt dealings of former Treadstone director Ward Abbott, and also provides him that his real name is David Webb and his birth date is “4/15/71”. While speaking with Landy, Bourne notices Vosen storing highly classified materials in a safe in his office. Bourne tells Landy to “get some rest” because she “looks tired”, which she and Vosen both understand to mean that he’s currently surveilling her. Vosen then intercepts a text message sent to Landy from Bourne advising a location for a meet and leaves his office with a team to follow her. The meet turns out to be a diversion that allows Bourne to break into Vosen’s office and steal classified Blackbriar documents. Vosen sends Paz after him, resulting in a car chase which ends with Paz forcing Bourne’s stolen police car into a concrete divider. Bourne gets out and holds Paz at gunpoint before sparing his life and continuing on to 415 East 71st Street (reference to the “4/15/71” from Landy), memories of which were triggered by the false birthday he was given by Landy. Vosen also figures out Landy’s code and warns Dr. Albert Hirsch (Albert Finney), who ran Treadstone’s behavior modification program, that Bourne is en route.
Landy meets Bourne outside the building. She admits to her change of heart, that she’s helping because she hadn’t signed up for programs like Treadstone and Blackbriar. Bourne gives her the Blackbriar files before going inside and Landy faxes them to a secondary witness with Vosen arriving just as the last page is successfully sent. Bourne meets with Hirsch in an upper level room and, with Hirsch’s help, finally recollects that he was not forced into the program, but in fact volunteered. He proclaims to no longer be “Jason Bourne” and flees from Vosen’s pursuing team to the roof. There, Paz confronts Bourne with why he didn’t kill him when he had the chance. Bourne questions Paz as to his motives and repeats the dying words of “The Professor”, a Treadstone assassin he killed years earlier (in The Bourne Identity): “Look at us… Look at what they make you give.” Paz lowers his gun as Bourne runs to jump off the roof, but Vosen appears and shoots at Bourne as he leaps into the East River below.
Some time later, Landy is shown testifying before the Senate regarding Blackbriar. Parsons watches a television news broadcast about the exposure of Operation Blackbriar, the arrests of Hirsch and Vosen, a criminal investigation against Kramer for authorizing the operation, and that David Webb, a.k.a. Jason Bourne, was reportedly shot and fell into the East River. Upon hearing that his body has not been found after a three-day search, Parsons smiles; Bourne is shown swimming away underwater after his fall.