The Jason Bourne Sprint: The Bourne Ultimatum

Jason Bourne’s last confirmed location was Moscow Russia where he went to seek repentance from the daughter of his first target. Having been wounded by Kirill in the previous film he goes into hiding (again!), but is forced to come out of retirement (again!), because of an investigative article in The Guardian by Simon Ross (Paddy Considine), which sheds some light on the Treadstone project. Despite Pam Landy’s efforts and the taped confession of corruption from Ward Abbot, he is still considered a threat by the director of the CIA, whose number one rule is “hope for the best, plan for the worst”.

Marie is not forgotten as Bourne visits her brother in Paris. His visit is a direct repetitive link to his visit to Irena Neski in Moscow shown in Supremacy, where he breaks into both their homes and offers them the truth about the victim’s deaths contrary to misinformation and accepts the blame for their deaths. Obviously this is a part of Bourne’s agenda more than anything else, to in a way smooth out the wrongs that he did and atone for his sins. Both scenes offer the greatest amount of pathos within the series. You would not catch James Bond ever saying sorry to anyone. As he tells Nicky later on: “I could see their faces. Anyone I have ever killed… I have tried to apologise for what I have done, for what I am. None of it makes it any better”

Yet the stand out point of the film is undoubtedly the scene at Waterloo station. It is around 15 minutes into the film and lasts for 10 minutes, though so much has happened within this space of time you feel as if it lasted longer. Bourne has arranged a rendezvous with Guardian reporter Simon Ross at Waterloo station, to find out who Ross’ source on his Guardian article on Treadstone. However the CIA are discreetly watching Ross and have a number of ‘units’ tailing him, and listening on his phone therefore if they find Ross with Bourne, there will be trouble as an ‘asset’ has been put on standby. Bourne has enough experience to know that Ross is being tailed so it is a marvel to watch how he manoeuvre and control the situation. It is only down to Ross’ inability to follow Bourne’s instructions that he gets killed.

Step one: buy a pre paid phone from Carphone Warehouse (not Phones 4U)

Step two: inconspicuously drop prepaid phone in Ross’ pocket then walk past or away as he is still being watched

Step three: Ring pre paid phone from your hands free, because it is less conspicuous than putting the phone to your ear. The CIA doesn’t have a tap on the pre paid phone. Tell Ross that he is being watched and to follow your instructions: “there is a bus stop 15 metres to your left, I want you to walk towards it. There is a man in a blue hooded sweatshirt I want you to walk towards him and stop” Therefore it looks as if Ross is talking to the man in the hoody.

Step four: when the bus comes to the stop tell Ross to move, this will cause panic for the guys at the CIA, because the target is out of sight.

Step five: get rid of mobile one (this guy looks similar to operative in Identity who Bourne used as a cushion to break his fall  ) on a staircase by kicking him in the groin and who is still able to see the target thus has informed operatives that Ross is on the move

The steps continue but there is obviously too many. What is great about the scene as well is that Bourne has effectively and singlehandedly made an entire organisation made to look foolish though it is a shame that it had to end in tragedy. Thus there is a lot of “what the hell just happened?” dialogue repeated from the offices in Langley, Virginia. Also that it was filmed in Waterloo station is a huge testament to Greengrass and his team to film in one of London’s busiest stations.

Pam is still there trying to fight Jason’s corner within the organisation but it is a tough job. She tells Nicky when asked if they are still chasing bourne indirectly communicating with Bourne as well that “No some people still think that he is a threat. I disagree but to find out I need to talk to him. “She is the only one it seems with any sense. I seriously feel sorry for her having to deal with pig headed people first Ward Abbott then Noah Wilson.

In Ultimatum his flashbacks are becoming clearer and more frequent than in the other films. We are now seeing faces, places and clear repetitive dialogue, which can only mean that Bourne is getting closer to the truth. He will soon meet Dr. Albert Hirsch (Albert Finney), the man who made Bourne. The death in water imagery that I have mentioned in earlier posts is also more prominent and is linked to his Treadstone flashbacks. In one instance he has a flashback to Marie’s death but the memory is juxtaposed by him being subjected to waterboarding rendition; a post 9/11 image which as subtle as the Hamburgalar trying to rob a bank.

In Ultimatum as in other films I have said earlier that scenes have been deliberately repeated. Take the scene where Bourne visits Neil Daniels (Ross’ source) apartment in Madrid, he comes up against some agents and sees Nicky just like in Paris near the end of Identity. As Nicky becomes an ally later on in the movie and therefore becomes a target along with Bourne and goes into hiding, she cuts her hair into a bob just like Marie did in the first film. Whilst in a cafe between Bourne and Nicky; does Nicky hint at a pre amnesia relationship between the two?

Hand to hand combat Matt Damon versus Joey Ansah

The fight between Blackbriar “asset” Desh Bouksani and Jason Bourne is impressive and it looks like Desh is perhaps his toughest opponent, as the fight lasts a long time. The best thing about Bourne’s fighting skills is his ability to disarm an opponent, Desh having been armed with a silencer to kill Nicky is in a few moments without it, thus levelling the playing field. Bourne gets flung onto a wall and flung onto a table, and Nicky kind of saves his bacon as he is getting pummelled,  but he gives good as well using a book to hit Desh in the neck, face and stomach, oooooh! Then as in a carbon copy with the fight with Jarda in Supremacy he uses an organic object as a lethal weapon. This time it is a towel which he also uses to strangle him with. It is a good fight but somehow I prefer the one with Jarda.

Car chase:

In Identity it was a mini, in Supremacy it was a yellow taxi, in Ultimatum it is a wait for it…NYPD patrol car. That he reverses a car of the roof off of a one story car park, is a fantastic prelude to a balls up petroleum buster. Okay we know it is tiresomely repetitive but this car chase is perhaps the best of the bunch, with New York being the perfect location for an over the top car chase. As Paz; a blackbriar assassin is also shooting and chasing him, ends in a massive collision, where Paz is puzzled that at the end of it Bourne does not kill him

Bourne’s cunning

A conversation between Bourne and Pam is blatantly copied from the previous film (did they not just pick up the old script?) yes this is the one where pam offers him an unofficial apology “you know how it is”, and his real name where he was born; 415 Nixon Missouri. Bourne signs off with “get some rest Pam you look tired”. This is as we later find out a ruse between both parties to the people mainly Noah listening on the other line. 415 Nixon Missouri is in fact a code of communicating between the two the answer of where Treadstone is. He then sends Pam a text of a location knowing that they would intercept the text then follow her to get to him. His next action is as brazen as it is elegant. He rings Noah, in the midst of his team searching for him. He asks Noah where he is now, prompting a lie from Noah that he is sitting in his office “I doubt that. If you were in your office we would be having this conversation face to face” then hangs the phone up. Yes the cheeky monkey has only infiltrated the CIA offices, taking all the classified documents and files including that of Treadstone and Blackbriar right from Noah’s office. Noah truly has egg on his face.

The end

In the films climatic scene Paz has Bourne cornered and is pointing a gun at him. He hesitates as you may remember Bourne had earlier in a collision spared his life. A scene with pathos at the end of such suspense Bourne addresses Paz to say “do you even know why you’re supposed to kill me?” He then relays a line after knowing the whole truth that the Professor had said to him in The Bourne Identity “look at us. Look at what they made you give” Noah then takes a shot at him as he jumps into the river. Did he catch him? Well soon after we see some life in those legs as it swims away cutting to Nikki watching the news and knowing that he is still alive. It would have been better if we didn’t know, and that we were uncertain but hoping that he was alive. The confirmation kind of spoils it for us. It kind of makes us think that they are opening the door for another movie. It also brings it full circle the death in water imagery because this is where we first found Jason, in the water; an unknown man unsure of whether he is alive or not.

Next: The Bourne Legacy


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