The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)


Introduction

The Bourne Ultimatum is a 2007 American action thriller film directed by Paul Greengrass loosely based on the novel of the same name by Robert Ludlum.

The screenplay was written by Tony Gilroy, Scott Z. Burns and George Nolfi and based on a screen story of the novel by Gilroy.

The Bourne Ultimatum is the third instalment in the Jason Bourne film series, being preceded by The Bourne Identity (2002) and The Bourne Supremacy (2004). The fourth film, The Bourne Legacy, was released in August 2012, without the involvement of Damon, and the fifth film (a direct sequel to Ultimatum), Jason Bourne, was released in July 2016.

Matt Damon reprises his role as Ludlum’s signature character, former CIA assassin and psychogenic amnesiac Jason Bourne. In the film, Bourne continues his search for information about his past before he was part of Operation Treadstone and becomes a target of a similar assassin programme.

Outline

Following his pursuit by Kirill, Jason Bourne eludes Moscow police while wounded through a train station and deals with more flashbacks of when he first joined Operation Treadstone.

Six weeks later, CIA Deputy Director Pamela Landy divulges the audiotaped confession of Ward Abbott, the late former head of Treadstone, to Director Ezra Kramer. Meanwhile, in Turin, journalist Simon Ross of The Guardian meets an informant to learn about Bourne and Operation Blackbriar, the program succeeding Treadstone. The CIA tracks Ross as he returns to London, after his mention of “Blackbriar” during a cell phone call to his editor is detected by the ECHELON system. Bourne reappears in Paris to inform Martin Kreutz, the brother of his girlfriend Marie Helena Kreutz, of her assassination in India, also in the previous film.

Bourne reads Ross’s articles and arranges a meeting with him at London Waterloo station. Bourne realises that the CIA is following Ross and helps him evade capture for a while, but when he panics and ignores Bourne’s instructions, Ross is shot and killed by Blackbriar assassin Paz on orders of Deputy Director Noah Vosen. Vosen’s team, reluctantly assisted by Landy, analyses Ross’s notes and identifies his source as Neal Daniels, a CIA station chief involved with Treadstone and Blackbriar. Bourne makes his way to Daniels’ office in Madrid but finds it empty. He incapacitates gunmen sent by Vosen and Landy. Nicky Parsons, a former Treadstone operative who shares a history with Bourne, tells him that Daniels has fled to Tangier and aids his escape from an arriving CIA unit.

Nicky learns that Blackbriar “asset” Desh Bouksani has been tasked with killing Daniels. Vosen sees that Nicky accessed information about Daniels and sends Bouksani after Nicky and Bourne as well, a decision with which Landy fiercely disagrees. Bourne follows Bouksani to Daniels but fails to prevent Daniels’s death by a planted bomb. However, Bourne manages to kill Bouksani before he can kill Nicky. After sending Nicky into hiding, Bourne examines the contents of Daniels’ briefcase and 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 from Bourne, which is intercepted by Vosen. When Landy tells him that his real name is David Webb and gives him the birth date “4-15-71”, Bourne tells Landy to “get some rest” because she looks tired, tipping off that he is in New York and watching her from an overlooking building. Vosen intercepts a text to Landy from Bourne of a location to meet up, and leaves his office with a tactical team. Bourne, however, waits for them all to leave, enters Vosen’s office, and takes classified Blackbriar documents. When he realises that he has been tricked, Vosen sends Paz after Bourne, but the resulting car chase ends with Bourne forcing Paz’s car to crash into a concrete barrier. Bourne holds the injured Paz at gunpoint, but spares his life.

Bourne arrives at a hospital at 415 East 71st Street, having figured out Landy’s coded message. Outside, Bourne meets Landy and gives her the Blackbriar files before going inside. Vosen also figures out Landy’s code and warns Dr. Albert Hirsch, who ran Treadstone’s behaviour modification programme, that Bourne is coming. He follows Landy inside the building but is too late to stop her from faxing the Blackbriar documents out. Meanwhile, on an upper floor, Hirsch is confronted by Bourne, who now remembers that he volunteered for Treadstone. As Bourne flees to the roof, he is confronted by Paz, who asks, “Why didn’t you take the shot?” Bourne asks Paz if he knows why he was supposed to kill him, and repeats the dying words of The Professor in The Bourne Identity: “Look at us. Look at what they make you give.” Paz lowers his gun, but Vosen appears and shoots at Bourne as he jumps into the East River.

Some time later, Nicky watches a news broadcast about the exposure of Operation Blackbriar, the arrests of Hirsch and Vosen, a criminal investigation against Kramer, and the whereabouts of David Webb, a.k.a. Jason Bourne. Upon hearing that his body has not been found after a three-day search of the river, Nicky smiles. Bourne is shown swimming away in the East River.

Cast

  • Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, a former operative for the black ops Operation Treadstone.
  • Julia Stiles as Nicky Parsons, Bourne’s former Treadstone contact in Paris.
  • David Strathairn as Noah Vosen, CIA deputy director in charge of the new Treadstone black ops upgrade called Operation Blackbriar.
  • Scott Glenn as Ezra Kramer, director of the CIA.
  • Paddy Considine as Simon Ross, a reporter for The Guardian who has been investigating Treadstone.
  • Édgar Ramírez as Paz, a Blackbriar assassin.
  • Albert Finney as Dr. Albert Hirsch, the psychologist who oversaw Treadstone’s behavioural modification programme.
  • Joan Allen as Pamela Landy, CIA deputy director and task force chief, sent in to aid Vosen in tracking down Bourne.
  • Daniel Brühl as Martin Kreutz, Marie’s brother.

Bourne Films

You can find a full index of Treadstone (TV Series) here.

You can find a full index and overview of the Bourne Franchise here.

Trivia

  • The Bourne Ultimatum was filmed at Pinewood Studios near London and in multiple locations around the world, including Tangier, London, Paris, Madrid (as itself and double for Turin), Berlin (as double for Moscow), New York City including the Springs Mills Building (as the deep cover CIA offices), and other locations in the US.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Paul Greengrass.
  • Producer(s): Frank Marshall, Patrick Crowley, and Paul L. Sandberg.
  • Writer(s): Tony Gilroy, Scott Z. Burns, and George Nolfi.
  • Music: John Powell.
  • Cinematography: Oliver Wood.
  • Editor(s): Christopher Rouse.
  • Production: MP BETA Productions, The Kennedy/Marshall Company, and Ludlum Entertainment.
  • Distributor(s): Universal Pictures.
  • Release Date: 25 July 2007 (ArcLight Hollywood) and 03 August 2007 (US general release).
  • Running Time: 115 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.