Today! Because this is where is started for me. This is where it ends –
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
Directed by Paul Greengrass (x2)
Starring Matt Damon (x5), Joan Allen (x4), Julia Stiles (x2), David Strathairn (x3), Scott Glenn (x3), Albert Finney (x2), Edgar Ramirez, Paddy Considine, Daniel Bruhl, Tom Gallop (x2), Corey Johnson, Colin Stinton
The excellent Bourne trilogy concluded in a major way with Ultimatum – and then there were two more relatively unnecessary movies, one with Damon’s Bourne and one without, that you can basically ignore. In the continuing conversation of Best Movie Trilogies, people tend to start dropping franchises from the discussion once there is a fourth film. This, I feel, is wrong. Sure – if the movies are made one right after the other, and they all tie tightly together, maybe don’t count pieces of those as trilogies. But, a series that just splits an obvious third film in two (The Hunger Games, for example) – we can still call that a trilogy, no? Or if the fourth film is cash-in bullshit made way after the fact (Indiana Jones, Scream, American Pie – I’m not making judgments whether they’re good or bad trilogies here) or is basically unrelated (The Bourne Legacy, Mad Max) – we can ignore those, huh?
It’s trickier with a series of movies like, say, James Bond, where there are no true trilogies (even though the case could be made for Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Goldfinger, as well as Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall, I guess). Just picking and choosing starting and end points could make for some pretty messy arguments. I guess it depends what constitutes a real trilogy to you. We’ll likely touch on this again in the future, so take notes!
Certainly one of the best in recent memory – and in good competition for one of the all-time greats – is the first three Bourne films. The capper finally finds good ol’ David Webb unearthing all the secrets of his spy days, in Treadstone and afterward, while still dodging bullets, delivering hearty beatdowns, and forcing his female accomplices to cut and dye their hair. Particularly thrilling sequences take place in London’s Waterloo station, and the third act crashing smashing chase through Manhattan, leading to Bourne’s big showdown with man-behind-the-curtain villain Hirsch, played with grumbly intensity by Albert Finney.
Because the Bourne movies have a lot of internal similarities, and frequently feature throwbacks and homages to the other films, they can be remembered a bit interchangeably – but I think it’s pretty safe to say the third movie is the best one. Details may elude you about who was which assassin when, or what the hell Julia Stiles’ Nicky was doing at any given point in the trilogy, but Ultimatum has the most memorable finale, anyway (even if it harkens straight back to the opening shot of the first film), and it received the most subsequent acclaim. The National Board of Review named it one of the Ten Best Films of 2007, it won the series its only Oscars (three, for Film Editing, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing), was nominated for six BAFTAs including Best British Film (this is a British film??), and won Greengrass Best Director from the London Critics Circle.
Damon leads the advancing group, heading to the Five-Timers (#195 Bourne 2, #249 Ocean’s 11, #208 Jay and Silent Bob 4, #186 Talented Mr. Ripley), followed by Joan Allen in the Fours (Supremacy, #214 Nixon, #330 Face/Off), and Strathairn (#378 Sneakers, #181 League of Their Own) and Glenn (#174 Silence of the Lambs, #219 The Player) to the Threes. Director Greengrass is the 61st Two-Timer in the respective guild, after helming Supremacy!