Monday, August 13, 2007

Point/Counterpoint: The Bourne Ultimatum

Bimbo: It's a perfect action film. It really is all about the action. It's all action, and it's never boring. It has a lot of emotional textures to it, within the action - it plays with fear, suspense, loyalty and identity. It's also an allegory about America. It's about trying to be a good American, struggling to get out of a culture that is inevitably violent. And you feel the action. You feel the impact of the movie's messages and textures through the action itself. The sequence in Tangiers - the best part of the movie - reminded me of "The Battle of Algiers". The moment of silence before Matt Damon crashes through the window; perfection!

Betty: I can't even evaluate this movie because I didn't understand this movie at all. Action is not a language. Guns are not a substitute for dialogue. Rather, they are a shortcut when you have nothing to say. This movie had barely any women in it, which is why it was so boring. Oh, and no humor. No one even smiled. And the flashback scenes were so cheesy - I think they were ripping off the Harry Potter movie.

Bimbo: Cut the snark, Betty. This isn't Gawker. I do not care to address any of your points. Why argue with someone not well versed in the idiom of action? This was the best action film since "Miami Vice".

Betty: "The idiom of action"?! Here we go again. You can't just call something an idiom to lend it legitimacy when in fact it fails to convey, confuses and butchers, all meaning.

Bimbo: OK, fine. I won't use fake film scholar language. But can I at least say the movie "sutures itself into your soul"? Where my film scholahs at?

Betty and Bimbo welcome your comments, and would like to offer a prize to anyone who can explain why this film is titled "The Bourne Ultimatum." There is no ultimatum in this film.


Anonymous said...

Bourne is a Yankee through and through...Betty you are dead wrong...All Bourne all the time as far as I am concerned....Fellini is chump change compared to Bourne...long live Matt


Speed McQueen said...

Sorry Betty, Bimbo carries the day here. Your seeming hostility to action movies notwithstanding, you can't deny that a genre of films doesn't have an idiom simply because you don't like one example. I abhorred The Black Dhalia but I wouldn't claim that film noir doesn't have it's own idiom, series of tropes or visual language.

Bimbo's couching his critique in Cahiers du Cinema lingo may be a shade high-falutin', but you hardly refute the man's point with your ad hominem.

Greengrass' shaky camera and pummeling cuts do put the viewer in the midst of the action. He aims not to land some knockout blow- the film is too breathless for that-but instead wants us panting, and bit battered after each sequence.

I take issue with Bimbo's characterization of the Tangiers section as the best, for me it was in Waterloo Station. We've seen Bourne solo and on the move before. Watching him navigate a crowded place so wolfishly was the film's real joy.

As to the naming conventions of this first rate trilogy, you're right on the money. I leave the last word, grudgingly, to David Denby who suggests the next installment be called The Bourne Arpeggio.


Superman said...

This movie was poor. First, the base concept originally made this film go. Now we are on the third, I mean how many times can an operative keep discovering a new clandestine training program and seek out his identity. Second, the fight scenes were often cliche and this film lacked plot. Third, there was no development of his past affair with julia stiles, which made this portion of the story uncompelling. Finally, the jolting of the camera into a hazy mist during fight scenes, car chases, and general mayhem. is a creative idea. When this happens for prolonged periods, then you just feel dizzy and wonder why you paid ten dollars to watch blurry images.

I hope there is not a fourth. Unless Anne Hathaway is in it, Superman would not even rent the fourth. The bourne ultimate ultimatum.