The Bourne Ultimatum
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips
The content of this page was created directly by users and has not been screened or verified by IMDb staff.
Visit our FAQ Help to learn more

FAQ Contents


A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for The Bourne Ultimatum can be found here.

Still looking for the answer to his identity as a trained killer, ex-CIA-Treadstone operative Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) goes on the run yet again when London reporter Simon Ross (Paddy Considine), who is trying to unveil Operation Blackbriar, an upgrade to Treadstone, names Bourne as 'the beginning'. Chased by CIA Deputy Director Noah Vosen (David Strathairn) who wants to eliminate him and by CIA Deputy Director Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) who wants to protect him, Bourne attempts to track down Madrid-based CIA station chief Neil Daniels (Colin Stinton), the one person he thinks might hold the answer.

Yes. The Bourne Ultimatum is a 1991 novel by American author Robert Ludlum [1927-2001]. It was adapted for the screen by writers Tony Gilroy, Scott Z. Burns, and George Nolfi. The Bourne Ultimatum is the third in a series of three movies, preceded by The Bourne Identity (2002) and The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and followed by The Bourne Legacy (2012).

The beginning of Ultimatum recaps Bourne's flight from the Moscow police. Then we are informed that the following events have jumped to six weeks in the future. The events that follow are those that took place between the recap and the final scenes in Supremacy where Bourne returns to New York, calls Landy to ask whether they are still looking for him, and then tells her that she looks tired as a way of letting her know that he's within eyesight of her. The ending of Ultimatum then presents new information about how Bourne came to join Treadstone. It's a bit confusing at first, but once you realize how the movie's timeframe works, it makes sense.

Those who have seen all three Bourne movies as well as those who have watched them out of order strongly recommend that you see all three in order. It's possible to watch The Bourne Ultimatum as a movie unto itself, but many things from the previous movies will be unclear, e.g., why Jason Bourne was in Moscow at the start of the movie, how/why his girlfriend Marie was killed in India, how/why Pamela Landy and Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) got involved with Bourne, how Bourne initially lost his memory, etc.

This is one of those questions that the movie doesn't address. Suggestions as to why Daniels leaked information about Treadstone, Blackbriar, and Jason Bourne to The Guardian reporter Ross that have been offered by viewers include: 1) his conscience started to bother him, 2) Treadstone had collapsed, 3) he was running scared because so many people associated with Treadstone wound up dead, 4) he hoped to stop Bourne from pursuing his search for information, 5) he had lost faith in the CIA, 6) he realized the unethical nature and corruption of Treadstone, and 7) it was his way to atone for bringing Bourne into Treadstone in the first place.

Even though Nicky replied "Everest" to indicate that the situation was normal, Vosen suspected that it wasn't normal. It was likely the hesitation before her answers that gave it away so he suspected that Bourne was present. Landy certainly believed the situation wasn't normal as she replied to Nicky when the girl wondered why they were still chasing Bourne with her comment about not believing the leak situation. She meant Bourne to hear this and he reacts in the scene to the statement. This is why Vosen puts the phone on mute while he and Landy argue. So both Landy and Vosen are aware Bourne is in the Madrid office listening in and so that is why Vosen gave the one hour time period for backup to arrive, knowing full well that they would be there in five minutes, in order to stall Nicky long enough to catch Bourne. Fortunately, Nicky also suspected that Vosen was lying and told Bourne they had only three minutes, allowing them to get out even before the backup arrived.

A romantic relationship could be implied by Nicky's willingness to help Bourne escape and by her vague and somewhat nervous statement to Bourne that "it was difficult for me with you" and "you really don't remember, do you?" - a possible allusion to a prior relationship that Bourne says he does not recall. No further information is provided in the movie. However, the scene does not match the scenes in Supremacy's Berlin where Nicky acts likes she has no knowledge of a previous relationship with Bourne as well as her engagement in the search for Bourne in Identity (e.g. she makes the "wanted list" without question or blinking with the eyes).

Yes, the tied up person clearly slumps over in reaction to the gunshots, and Neal Daniels confirms that he has no pulse. After being subjected to torture for an unknown amount of time, Bourne breaks down and kills the man. His sense of morality is permanently altered, cementing his transformation into a government assassin.

Asset is the CIA's term for anyone of importance to their organization.

Bourne used a bit of tape to copy a fingerprint from Vosen's computer mouse; he then simply pastes it onto the safe. The same principle was used in The Bourne Supremacy, where Bourne's fingerprint was planted on the explosive device that was rigged not to go off, in order to incriminate him.

How does the movie end?

After Bourne telephones Pam Landy and informs her that she looks tired, Landy tells him that she's found out some information about him...his real name is David Webb and he was born on 4/15/71. He then gives her a bogus address and tells her to meet him there. Of course, Vosen has Landy's phone tapped, so he secretly follows Landy over to the address, but Bourne is not there. It turns out that the meeting was a diversion, giving Bourne enough time to sneak into Vosen's office and steal documents that provide evidence of Treadstone corruption. By the time Vosen realizes the trick, returns to his office, and figures out that Bourne's supposed birthdate was actually a coded message and that the code stood for 415 East 71st Street, which just happens to be the building where Bourne was trained, Vosen and his agents get there just in time to see Bourne pass the documents to Landy. Landy races into an office and faxes off the documents. Meanwhile, Bourne has cornered Dr Albert Hirsch (Albert Finney), the man who ran Treadstone's training program. Albert reveals to Bourne, who now realizes that he is Captain David Webb, that he volunteered for Treadstone training, and that he willingly shot a man in cold blood in order to commit to the program. As CIA agents pursue him, Bourne leaps from a window onto a roof and leaps into the East River just as Vosen fires a bullet at him. In the final scene, Nicky sees a news report about the exposure of Blackbriar and the arrests of Vosen and Hirsch. Nicky smiles when the report mentions that David Webb was shot and fell into the East River but, after three days, no body was recovered. Bourne is then shown swimming in the river.

The Bourne timeline

The following timeline was established using only what was seen in the film, nothing was used from commentaries or outside sources. There were very few scenes where an actual date was shown or discussed, so many of the dates are approximate.

1939: Albert Hirsch is born on September 1st

1968: Albert Hirsch earns his Ph.D. at Stanford

1971: David Webb is born on April 15th (later, this proves false)

1999: Treadstone begins with the induction of David Webb on June 1st

2002: Jason Bourne attempts to assassinate Wombosi (possibly in late November or early December)

2002: Bourne spends two weeks recovering aboard a fishing boat

2002: Bourne meets Marie (Christmas lights and presents show up sporadically, so it may only be mid December)

2002: Treadstone is shut down and Blackbriar takes its place either at the end of 2002 or the beginning of 2003.

2003: Bourne is reunited with Marie in Greece at her scooter rental store (the growth of Marie's hair leads us to believe at least a few months have gone by since we last saw her)

2004: Marie is assassinated, most likely in mid to late November

2004: Bourne visits with Irena Neski and apologizes for killing her parents (the last week of November, no means to determine the "exact" date)

2005: Maxwell Hart (US Citizen) is assassinated by Blackbriar on January 3rd

2005: Bourne and Nicky meet in Daniels' office on January 10th per the daily wall calendar

2005: Jason Bourne is shot and the movie ends. Most likely on January 11th or 12th

In the movie's DVD Special Features, the fight choreographer (Jeff Imada) states that the fight sequences were predominantly based on the Filipino stick fighting art called Kali. He also mentions that he included Bruce Lee's style which is assumed to be Jeet Kun Do. As Jeet Kun Do has a strong element of Wing Chun, some techniques can be recognized as belonging to the latter style, although Kali itself has many similar techniques to Wing Chun. There are also traces of Jackie Chan's influence in scenes involving fighting using ordinary household objects such as a towel, a book or candle stand. The second assassin character, Desh, uses a mixture of wushu and Capoeira when fighting against Jason Bourne. This was explicitly mentioned by the actor in the DVD Special Features.

"Extreme Ways (Bourne's Ultimatum)" by Moby, which has been used in the end credits for all the Bourne films. This version at the end of Ultimatum is a remix.

It is "Weapons of Mass Distortion" by The Crystal Method from their album "Legion of Boom," previously heard in the finale of Blade: Trinity (2004).

The reason can be traced back to the first film. Doug Liman, director of The Bourne Identity, decided to deviate from the original plot of the first novel in order to update the story to fit an early 21st century, post-9/11 setting instead of the post-Vietnam War setting of the novels. This had an effect on the next two movies, which had to be consistent with the one(s) before, not necessarily with Ludlum's books. In addition, the main antagonist of the novel was the real-life figure, Carlos the Jackal, who was at large when The Bourne Identity was written in 1980, but eventually captured in 1994. Thus, his presence would not fit the new setting.

For other movies that feature other special agents facing deadly complications, try xXx (2002), in which an athlete is recruited by the government to infiltrate an underground Russian crime ring. In The Transporter (2002) , an ex-special forces operator, now working as a goods transporter who asks no questions, breaks the rules and peeks at his latest cargo. There's Three Days of the Condor (1975), in which a CIA researcher must outwit hit men bent on killing him. In The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996), lost memories of herself as a top-secret agent begin to surface in an ordinary housewife. In Bullitt (1968), a cop searches for the killers of a witness that he was supposed to be protecting. Two cops attempt to intercept a big heroin shipment coming from France in The French Connection (1971). Also recommended by those who have seen The Bourne Identity are the Jackal movies -- The Day of the Jackal (1973) and The Jackal (1997) -- in which a professional assassin codenamed "Jackal" is sent on secret missions. Also consider the Ocean movies -- Ocean's Eleven (2001), Ocean's Twelve (2004), and Ocean's Thirteen (2007) -- in which Danny Ocean and his team of gangsters attempt to pull off major heists, and any of the James Bond films. Finally, you can check out Taken (2009), another thriller that involves an ex-CIA operative tracking down his daughter after she's been kidnapped in Europe.

Page last updated by bj_kuehl, 5 days ago
Top 5 Contributors: bj_kuehl, !!!deleted!!! (6531010), !!!deleted!!! (837795), mystic_man_jehrobi, welshswordsman

r73731


Related Links

Plot summary Plot synopsis Parents Guide
Trivia Quotes Goofs
Soundtrack listing Crazy credits Movie connections
User reviews Main details