Monday, August 6, 2007

Once and The Bourne Ultimatum

Once will play steadily throughout the summer, albeit on fewer screens, ever as bigger films come and go. Once, there is no upon a time, makes a personal statement about unrequited love not totally unlike the movie In the Mood For Love (Wong Kar Wai). The spine of Once suggest that there are first loves and true loves and that they are not really the same thing. But that's the spine of the drama. The music is what people will remember about Once.
Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova are a pair of singer songwriters who team up in Dublin to cut a record. Hansard fronts the group The Frames in real life. When Hansard and Irglova duet time seems to stop. The movie doesn't try to be anything it's not. There are the songs they are playing and the possibility they might be in love, and that's all. And that's a lot. Fox Searchlight picked up Once for distribution at Sundance for under one million. So far the film has made over 5-million domestic. Once along with other small movies like Waitress and La Vie en Rose makes like the turtle who beats the hare in a race - they have staying power.

Paul Greengrass is the new John Woo. The Bourne Ultimatum has at least three sequences that define action choreography in modern day films. A covert conversation in Waterloo Square turns into a maze of violence. A chase across rooftops in Tangiers makes the parkour opening of Casino Royale pale.
The intrigue, all the CIA/NSA skullduggery, really takes second place to the inner journey of Jason Bourne. He's a spy of many faces and he's seen in many places, and he's not secret squirrel. Spain, Morocco, New York City and London are the best set pieces a director could have. The interesting thing about Greengrass is how he lept on the scene. This isn't the first knockout film he's helmed.
Previously Greengrass directed last year's United 93, for which he was nommed as director. Greengrass also directed the second Bourne film and Sunday Bloody Sunday. It's like when Curtis Hanson did L.A. Confidential and you said to yourself, this guy is my new favorite director.