Saturday, 8 September 2007

Julia Stiles plays Nicky Parsons in The Bourne Ultimatum, the third in a series of action blockbusters. Jason Bourne is searching for his identity, having been brainwashed by the secret agency he worked for, to become an assassin. The movie spins from London to Paris to Madrid to Tangier to New York.

A journalist is targeted by both Bourne and the agency. The journo is investigating Bourne's case, and Bourne reads an article in The Guardian while on a train. Bourne wants to know who a source used in the article is. The journo will do a lot to protect his source but it turns out that's not enough.

Notes by the journo take Bourne to Madrid, then to Tangier, where he meets Parsons (pic) and where the best action sequence takes place. Now the action is highly abstract, consisting of a rapid series of blurred images accompanied by regular thumps signalling impact. As the agency's 'asset' (assassin) tracks Parsons through narrow lanes and apartments, Bourne tracks the assassin. The fight scene is extraordinary in its violence and speed.

Parsons is the first woman in the movie to 'turn' in order to assist Bourne. There will be another woman who does this indicating, perhaps, that women remain the conscience of society. The second woman will also fax a bundle of secret documents (to a newspaper?).

The role of the media in this movie indicates that journalism still may have a role in cases where government oversteps its role. In fact the second woman to turn will say "I didn't sign up for this". David Strathairn is a credible CIA Deputy Director Noah Vosen having just the right amount of space showing between his shirt collar and his neck to suggest 'bureaucrat'. But his words are pure totalitarian. A government giving too much power to a secretive and secret agency.

The result is assassination in order "to save American lives". These last words are from the mouth of Dr. Albert Hirsch (Albert Finney) who was the guy who 'conditioned' Bourne, and who Bourne ultimately seeks out.

Parson's smile as Bourne is announced 'unaccounted for' is eloquent. She barely changed expression throughout the whole movie although she gets a lot of camera time. The final scene is of a dark, submerged figure twisting to life against a speckled blue ground: the undersurface of the East River.

1 comment:

Pickled Eel said...

You might enjoy an account of my experience watching this movie in a movie theatre in Amman - cheers