London Filming Locations: The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

If twenty plus Bourne Supremacy locations in Berlin wasn’t enough I now present you with a few of the places in London that featured in The Bourne Ultimatum which is my favourite Bourne movie. Just over a year ago I went to Tangiers in the north of Morocco which played a major part in the third and final (?) part of the Bourne trilogy. Undoubtedly the most famous London one is Waterloo Station which I went to with Richard Richard just before the end of 2010. Our hero tries to guide Guardian journalist Simon Ross (Paddy Considine) through the overly-crowded station away from a few hitmen. The crew were allowed to film at Waterloo during off-peak hours (i.e. mid-afternoon) so many of the people in the background are just normal people going about their normal lives.

Crescent House on the Golden Lane Estate, Fann Road (below left) supposedly features but I’m buggered if I could find it when playing the dvd back.  

119 Farringdon Road plays the part of The Guardian HQ from which journalist Simon Ross appears. The rain was falling quite heavily when I was there so I didn’t p*ss about with setting up my tripod to get myself in the photo as is the norm. In fact I was getting so wet that I actually gave up on the location scouting (I’d planned to track down a couple more Bourne places nearby at Hatton Garden and Holborn) as my flight back to Japan was that same evening and I didn’t want to be sitting on a 12 hour flight with soaking wet jeans. As it was I ended up with wet jeans on the plane anyway as the guy in front of me leaned his seat back so far that he spilled my drink over my leg. As it was I did get 2000 yen in cash from the airline for the inconvenience but I digress.

You can see my ‘Bourne Supremacy’ Berlin filming locations here.

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Berlin Filming Locations: The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

The second film in the Bourne trilogy begins in Goa (India) where Bourne (Matt Damon) and Marie (Franka Potente) are lying low. After that its mostly Berlin all the way albeit in a variety of guises as the German capital fills in for Naples, Munich, Amsterdam and Moscow.

Berlin makes its first appearance in ‘The Bourne Supremacy’ by way of the Kantstrasse/Hardenbergstrasse junction next to Zoologischer Garten Station which is where a deal is struck to expose the mole within the CIA but Russian agent Kirill sabotages it as he tries to frame Jason Bourne.

 

Kirill reports to Yuri (his control) at Motel Avus at 51 Halenseestrasse which is over the road from the ICC at Messedamm and the parking area beneath that doubles up as ‘Moscow’ Airport where they meet each other.

 

Nearby, at the northern entrance to the Berlin Exhibition Grounds at Messedamm 22 is the ‘Naples’ custom office where Bourne is held on his return to Europe

 

Next up is ‘Amsterdam’ but of course its Berlin and Walter-Benjamin-Platz in particular where Nicky (Julia Stiles) is found by Ward Abbott.

 

Bourne arrives in the German capital at Berlin Oestbahnhof and walks past a souvenir shop inside the station and then puts his bag in the exact same locker pictured below. He also takes out another bag he’d been keeping in there.

   

Its in this station that he phones a few hotels in the name of tracking down US agent Pamela Landy (Joan Allen). Before he tails her he crosses the Oberbaumbruecke which featured prominantly in ‘Run Lola Run’ featuring his co-star Franka Potente as can be seen in ‘Berlin Pt II’.

  

The Westin Grand is the luxury hotel where Landy is staying. Bourne finds out in a clever way at reception that she is staying in room 235. He then watches her leave from his position on the 4th floor and then takes the stairs down and goes through the hotels revolving doors where he gets in a taxi and follows her to the CIA hub where he makes a phonecall to her whilst watching from a nearby rooftop.

      

Alexanderplatz plays host to the next round of events in the movie. Bourne arranges to meet Nicky under the Weltzeituhr (world clock) on Alexanderstrasse amid a student demonstration.

     

The next location is over in West Berlin at Hotel Brecker (at Kurfurstendamm 288) where Bourne has flashbacks of his disastrous first mission to kill Russian politician Neski in room 645. I knew the hotel didn’t exist but wanted to find the building but, after a long walk, all I found was a pile of rubble as the place had been demolished.

Friedrichstrasse station provides some of the films most exciting scenes (in a movie jam-packed with action) when the police chase Bourne up some steps, over the bridge and on to the platform. Unlike most other films the train doors don’t magically close as soon as he gets on but he does use efficient German timing to his advantage in order to make his escape. He jumps across the track seen below narrowly avoiding an oncoming train and then he hops on over the bridge onto a slow riverboat, hooks himself back on to the brdige and hauls himself up and gets back on the train he’d originally intended to take. Classic!

     

After this, Bourne takes the train to Moscow. The ‘Moscow’ disco, where Yuri finds Kirill and informs his that Bourne is still alive, is of course in Berlin. It’s the aptly named Cafe Moskau on Karl Marx Allee 34 although we don’t see the front of it in the movie. Instead, the Kino International complex across the road is seen from under the cafe.

 

The ‘Moscow’ street where Bourne arrives by taxi in search of Neski’s daughter is actually Scharrenstrasse near Spittelmarkt U-Bahn station. On foot he turns into Friedrichsgracht, walks under a bridge and is shot by Kirill next to this river which was frozen over when I was there. Kirill is temporarily arrested before a car chase ensues.

   

As well as actual Moscow this car chase was also filmed in Berlin with perhaps the most notable part being the final crash at the Potsdamer Platz exit of Tiergarten Tunnel.

You can see my Bourne Identity Bourne Ultimatum location photos here & here.

TF Film Review: Green Zone (2010)

It seems that its impossible to talk about Green Zone without mentioning the Bourne franchise (which I absolutely loved) so now that I have got that reference out of the way we can move on. This movie came out a couple of months ago in Britain but as usual the Japan release was delayed which I went to see at a nearby cinema on its opening day last Friday. The film is directed by Paul Greengrass (with his trademark use of hand-held cameras) and he teams up with Matt Damon yet again to provide a typically breakneck action film which is tense and exciting. There is also, in my opinion, a quite preachy polical message regarding the weapons of mass destruction which Damon‘s character Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller is searching for in Iraq in order to justify the US invasion. When his search comes up empty handed each time he begins to have his suspicions about some of his own side.
Beforehand I had fairly low expectations for Green Zone as war films don’t always do it for me and I thought that I would be hoping to see Bourne taking aim at real life in Iraq. Of course, the lead character in this film is not exactly too different in appearance as after all they do have the same face and the same voicebox! Overall, though I really liked this film and was able to separate it from the aforementioned franchise which certainly helps one enjoy it.