“The Bourne Ultimatum,” review by Susan Granger

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On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Bourne Ultimatum” is an escapist 8, perhaps the strongest in the espionage series. But is it really the end? Don’t bet on it.

Based on the third of the spy novel series by the late Robert Ludlum, this concludes the action-adventure trilogy of “The Bourne Identity” (2002) and “The Bourne Supremacy” (2004).

After his cover is blown by a London newspaper reporter (Paddy Considine), rogue CIA agent Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) once again becomes the prime target of the top-secret government agency that trained him as an assassin. With nothing left to lose, the amnesiac Bourne relentlessly seeks those responsible for turning him into a brutal killing machine, flying to and from London, Madrid, Tangier, Paris, Moscow and, finally, to New York City. All on a fake passport, carrying no luggage, evading detection and never suffering those annoying airport flight delays. Amazing!

CIA director, Ezra Kramer (Scott Glenn), and chief of the black-ops program known as Blackbriar, Noah Vosen (David Strathairn), are determined to rid themselves of this $30-million malfunctioning threat named Bourne – ‘to take him out’ this time – to the chagrin of CIA internal investigator Pamela Landy (Joan Allen). And Bourne has another ally: disillusioned CIA operative Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), who joins him on the run.

Working from the screenplay by Tony Gilroy, Scott Z. Burns and George Nolfi, British director Paul Greengrass (“The Bourne Supremacy,” “United 93”) has obviously mastered the intricate plot twists, action choreography and terrific chase sequences – one through Manhattan – which characterize these ‘They can’t stop me!’ capers.

Cinematographer Oliver Wood creates spectacular shots, edited by Christopher Rouse to composer John Powell’s pulsating score. Is it formulaic? Yes – and the formula works.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.