Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum

Not too much different here from what I said about the last film in this franchise, so just some comments rather than a review:

I didn't hate the film, but almost all the political subtexts from the last two films are yet more blatant and yet more explicitly stated. "This is not what I signed up for" says Joan Allen, followed, I think by the requisite,"This is not who we are."

That's all well and good. Always nice to see RNC warmongering philosophy get a public spanking to a full house. But at some point all the political preaching gilded onto an action film creates a certain amount of cognitive dissonance that distances me from the very questions I'm having my face rubbed in because any relation between the world inhabited by the film and that I live in is purely cosmetic. Just once I'd like to see Jason drive a car off the third floor of a parking garage and land on a pregnant mother walking her two year old instead of hobbling away with his moral superiority intact because he didn't kill the person who was trying to kill him.

These films claim to be anti-totalitarian in their violence, yet they end up implying that if you are sufficiently skilled (like Bourne) that violence can be contained and directed only at those who deserve it--the very lie that propagated by the sorts of people who create the policies that Bourne (and we) are supposed to reject.

It was entertaining, though.


Peter T Chattaway said...

How about that innocent civilian that Bourne puts in harm's way? (I.e., the hooded guy on the cell phone, who is picked up by the CIA after they suspect he is the journalist's source. Maybe the CIA will let him go after they realize they've got the wrong guy. Then again -- given how lethal and paranoid the CIA types are in this film -- maybe not.)

Kenneth R. Morefield said...

Good point/example.

Perhaps they could have gotten Ayad Akhtar of "The War Within" to do a cameo in that role.

I thought maybe the people in the control room or something said a line indicating they realized they had the wrong guy--but it does sort of come across as one of those places in the film where the makers seem to be saying--"Don't think too hard about this." That's fine, as long as they don't try to pass themselves off in other places as deep or having penetrating insight.

Thanks for your comment, Peter.

Peter Waldron said...

I'm in almost total agreement with you on this one, and had to laugh when I came to your final line because I too was entertained--partially against my will. Like you I found all the liberal posturing to be very awkwardly shoehorned into this franchise. And I'm generally a liberal posturer myself.
Even more annoying than the preaching, however, were the ridiculous levels of information and resources at the fingertips of Bourne's pursuers. Bourne mentions a name and ten seconds later every detail about that individual is available to the agency in a graphically rich format? Photo mosaics of pertinent newspaper clippings appear magically with a few keystrokes--and they're highlighted??! If this busy and extremely efficient roomful of government intelligence experts could tear themselves away from Bourne for a moment they could shut down Al Quaeda in about half an hour, putting an end to their reductionist argument about the suspension of Constitutional protections for the so-called greater good.