Saturday, August 18, 2007

Bourne Ultimatum

The Bourne Ultimatum: Matt Damon

Saw the film last night. Highly recommend it. A little distorting with the hand-held cameras, but I liked that. (Chloe did not).

Spoiler Alert--not much detail, but some. So be warned.

The movie is the first in the series to really tackle the post 9/11 security world. Bourne is tracing his life back to the beginning and finds out he is part of an "experimental training" program.

We see him waterboarded and fitted with the famous black hoods of Abu Ghraib.

Pamela Landey (Joan Allen) from the Bourne Supremacy returns. She ends up in an intra-CIA tussle with Noah Vosen (David Straitharn). Vosen represents the "new" breed of CIA: with him comes black sites, Rendition, secret executions. Landey is the rep. for the old style, play by the rules espionage crowd.

Landey asks Vosen after he (Vosen) has ordered a hit on CIA Nikki Parsons (Julia Styles): "when does it end?" Vosen answers---"when we are victorious."

And that to me was the real question, the real point the movie was poking and proding? What is victory in all this? Is there a time whenever "we" are "victorious". Bourne himself has to come to grips with his own participation (guilt?) in this new reality.

It is not as dark or dystopic as say Children of Men. We see a glimpse of a transparent government cracking down on its own rogue elements and embracing its side of higher angels.

There is this strange mixture, that the movie captures well, of both the brutal and clinical efficiency of say the water-boarding and the ghost sites and black ops, but how inefficient, how ham-handed and ignorant the people behind these orders are (Vosen). All he keeps doing is wanting to destroy, kill, and end opposition. No thought of who gets hurt in the process, and whether such individuals would later themselves become a liability. The press is targeted in this movie--literally.

It's an interesting glimpse at (one construction of) the man behind the curtain. And like Oz, he is not so great and all powerful for all his technological mastery/wizardry. He remains a fallible human nonetheless.


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