It's all over.

Film It's only in the final moments of The Bourne Ultimatum that it occurred to me that the whole trilogy is actually just one long detective story about a man trying to discover who his own murderer was and who led to him becoming a murderer. Bourne spends the three films shifting from location to location, criss crossing the globe picking up clues along the way which send him to the next destination. But whereas for Miss Marple the impediment is high tea and for Sam Spade it's lack of sleep and a hang over, for the hero of this trilogy it's the CIA and whichever hitmen are chasing him and his own ability to stay off the radar until he chooses to show himself.

Writer Nick Lacey describes Star Wars as being of a super-genre nature because it encompasses the recognisable elements science fiction, western and fairy-tale fantasy. There aren't many films in the new Hollywood order that don't cross these lines and Bourne is another example, and it's as super as they come. As well as a detective story, it's also a spy thriller, a revenger thriller, a psychological drama, to some extent fantasy, gathers up new-wave influences as well (not just in terms of editing but also story construction) and it turns out even more of a romance than we might have imagined. That it manages to throw even a couple of these genres together is a minor miracle, that it does this without jarring and with such aplomb is definitive.

In fact you could argue that because the film doesn't fit in one particular genre very easily it's actually without genre -- it's simply telling a story. I wouldn't argue that because clearly films can be of a cross generic nature (see Back To The Future: Part Three), but I'd be interested to know if Greengrass and co even actually thought of the kind of generic implications I wrestled with writing my dissertation last year (beyond describing it as an action adventure) as they were working or if they did if it was in the same way that James Mangold must have during production on 3:10 to Yuma which judging by the trailer must be one of the most obvious, non-deconstructed westerns in years (unsurprisingly perhaps because it's also a remake).

Needless to say, it's an amazing piece of work, certainly one of my favourite films of the year and ties up the trilogy in fine style, which makes a real change in the year of threequels. I agree with Mark Kermode (when do I ever not) -- Paul Greengrass is one of the best directors about at the moment who somehow manages to turn out these exciting actioners which also have a thematic message (on this occasion the surveillance society). Matt Damon's never been better than in these films but it's also a rare occasion in these things when no one seems miscast -- and it has an interesting continuity continuity in that regard with the appearance of a German actor from a certain German film which is as perfect a choice as Franke Potente in the first film and Oksana Akinshina in the second.

Will there be a fourth film? Greengrass seems interested (but needs a break) and Matt says he'll do it if Paul's directing. Is there enough plot? Well actually, yes there is. Without spoiling the ending, although it's an emotional resolution, it's far from a geopolitical full stop and indeed there are a few dangling story details which could be spun out into something else. The next available title, The Bourne Legacy (from the next official novel, this time by Eric Van Lustbader) is certainly atmospheric and could refer to a whole range of outcomes from this film. But perhaps, just this once, it should be left as it's own perfect little trilogy.

Meanwhile, how cool is the poster for Clooney's next movie?

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