Last night after work, I drove down to Perimeter Point to meet up with Alice for dinner and a movie. We had a leisurely meal at Atlanta Bread Company and discussed the day and a variety of other topics; one of the things I love about hanging out with Alice is that she’s always got something interesting to talk about, and often about subjects that I’m not already immersed in, which is a good stretch for my brain.

Our movie for the evening was the just-released The Bourne Ultimatum starring Matt Damon. I admit that I had no idea what to expect from this film, having seen neither of its prequels nor read any of the novels which they are (loosely, I’m told) based upon. But it was the film that Alice suggested she was very interested in seeing, and I had no objection to it, even if it was a film I might not have ever seen if someone had not asked me to go with them.

I’m glad she did. Ultimatum isn’t a deep film, by any means, but its a roller coaster ride that starts on a high and never lets up. The plot is tight and gripping, and paced in such a way that even when something preposterous happens, your brain doesn’t quite have time to object before the action moves on. The violence is hyperkinetic and neatly manages to avoid unnecessary gore while at the same time never being cartoonish. I heard the director refer to some of the fight scenes as a “violent ballet” in a radio interview last week, and that’s a fitting description.

Jason Bourne as a character is interesting to watch. Matt Damon manages to be likable enough for us to keep us on his side while still being about as emotionally withdrawn as its possible to be without completely ceasing to be human. David Strathairn is fantastic as the CIA Black-Ops director who wants to stop him before he learns to much, and Albert Finney makes a surprise appearance at the end. Surprising in an action film, the various characters never quite become caricatures.

I’m not sure this was the Platonic Ideal of an action movie. But it was awfully darn close, and i’m looking forward to getting the two previous films on DVD and watching them now.