August 7th, 2007

Q - Major Boothroyd (James Bond)


The Bourne Supremacy, Paul Greengrass' follow-up to Doug Liman's The Bourne Identity, was an interesting sequel, taking the concept from the first film and ratcheting up the tension through the use of hand-held cameras and edgy editing (Oliver Wood shot all three films). The action sequences, while visually confusing, managed to be more appropriate than the analogous sequences in, say, a Michael Bay film, because they are stylistically tied into the way the rest of the film was shot. It was also notable for how it built on the previous film, following and deepening the fates of the established (surviving) characters from the first film.

The Bourne Ultimatum picks up immediately where Supremacy left off in more ways than one. Barely wasting any time establishing what's going on (if you haven't seen the first two films, you'll be completely lost), the film plunges the viewer directly into the blindingly paced endgame of the series, and yet, despite the breakneck pace, every very story element is kept in focus, preventing the film from becoming at all confusing or bogged down by distractions. This is particularly astounding given Matt Damon's reports that the screenplay by Tony Gilroy, Scott Z. Burns and George Nolfi was being rewritten each day.

Perhaps the level of uncertainty the actors had with regards to what they were going to do from day to day worked in the film's favor; just about every character is being pushed to extremes in the story for their own reasons, and the cast - especially Damon - sells that. David Strathairn is particularly good in his role as a desperate project leader who knows he's an errand boy with an important job. The action and chase scenes are created without any CGI and they have a feeling of brutal honesty about them, which makes Bourne's calculating approach even more effective. John Powell's throbbing score follows in the tradition of the previous two; while this is not my favorite genre, his work here is very effective.

Perhaps the best aspect of the film is that it does what it sets out to without attempting to overwork the concept to make it epic, as so many of this recent spate of trilogy-cappers have done. This is an edgy espionage thriller, and it is about paranoia, espionage and thrills. It can not be judge solely on its own, but as an element of a trilogy (or series, if they continue with the post-Ludlum Bourne titles), and in that respect, it works as a great conclusion to two very interesting films. For once, a trilogy has not dropped the ball.

Cross-posted to Charged by the System
Dude (The Big Lebowski)


I took a break from Broughton today, listening to other things over the course of the day and catching up on I, Claudius (one more episode to go). Then I popped open the Broughton mix once more and lined up the candidate tracks, getting a better view of the whole. The project has now become much more manageable. I'll putter about with it tomorrow night and hopefully have a good, long session with it on Thursday.

I, Claudius is evil.

NOT WORK SAFE - Roman Debauchery
(not graphic)