The explicitly stated moral of the film is, “The old ways are the best.” In honor of the 50th anniversary of Bond films, the whole movie’s a tribute to the glories of Bonds Past, and to doing it old school. This is more classic genre stuff, because action films generally, even the most high-tech ones, find a way to old-school it, casting off unsatisfactory long-range weaponry and computerized gadgetry for knives and kung fu kicks and fisticuffs. They often have to get very contrived to manage it, as Skyfall does. There are big laughs to be had in the much weaker second half of the film, watching the narrative struggle to shove Agent 007 back into the Bondian past—look, it’s the Aston Martin!—and then ever further back to a kind of wishful Tory paradise—look, it’s the wilds of Scotland, where English toffs go to rip off Celtic warrior culture and get kilted and primal!
Female agent in opening sequence, first characteristic we see = 'bad driver', breaking side mirror
By end of film she's demoted to secretary
When Daniel Craig took on the role of James Bond in Casino Royale (2006), there was much talk of the real thing. Here at last was the mean, lethal, almost banter-free figure we thought Ian Fleming had invented, the ruthless, funless fellow we imagined we had always wanted. He had a licence to kill but his real licence was his angry work ethic. He was going to get the job done and nothing would distract him. He looked more like Robert Shaw, the great villain in From Russia with Love, than like any other Bond. He was unshaken, unstirred; dogged not feline, a terrier who made us wonder what those sleek, overdressed catlike figures had been doing these 44 years. Even his smart suits looked like overalls done by Dior – well, by Lindy Hemming, as it happens. When he said, ‘Bond, James Bond’, he was not just identifying himself as other actors had done. He was correcting the record. He was James Bond, the others were impostors, Algernons or Benedicts or something from a quite different branch of the family.
The film (directed by Martin Campbell) was well paced, and organised the old tropes elegantly around the new engine. But by the end it was already beginning to feel tired – with how many more Bond movies to come. It looked good, it was good, but there was some kind of misapprehension lurking in it. Quantum of Solace (2008), directed by Marc Forster, seemed a bit stodgy, but thoroughly faithful to the old-new premise, the labours of the travelling, rough-’em-up bulldog. It was only when I saw it again a few weeks ago – since this is the Bond movies’ fiftieth anniversary year there are places in the world where you can’t see anything on television except Bond films – that I understood. Craig and his directors thought seriousness was a virtue. They had brought a Stanislavskian notion of intensity not just to acting but to fiction. The idea was for Craig to be James Bond and to show us he was no one else. It wasn’t just a matter of dropping the wisecracks and the various excesses of style, running from Connery to Moore via Dalton and Brosnan, or to put it too speedily, from sardonic to camp via brooding and flighty. It was the assumption, which we all half-fell for, that a real James Bond was a good idea. It wasn’t an idea at all, it was a delusion. Why would we want a real James Bond, and what did we want when we thought we wanted him?
Otherwise, my biggest problem with the scene was how the hell did Bond get on the boat?
there was definitely a nod to Bond having had sex with men there
painquale: I am furious that they decided it was a good idea to make Bond rape a sex slave.
Added to this is ... a villainy that isn’t white – Bardem’s supervillain, prostitutes and gangsters.
jettloe: * Female agent in opening sequence, first characteristic we see = 'bad driver', breaking side mirror
* Then she can't even shoot straight
* By end of film she's demoted to secretary
painquale: I find it really hard to spin a narrative in which Bond doesn't rape her.
mecran01: Was anyone else disturbed by M's recounting of how she had given up Silva to the Chinese, or ordered the shot against Bond?
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