Thursday, 13 December 2018

Craig goes in search of the ties that Bond

ANY James Bond film is greeted with frenzied anticipation and for me Spectre is no different.

ANY James Bond film is greeted with frenzied anticipation and for me Spectre is no different.

Sam Mendes once again takes the helm but the temptation to compare it to 007’s last outing — the all-conquering Skyfall, released in 2012 — should be resisted.

This was arguably the best Bond film since 1995’s Goldeneye, and hugely watchable after the painfully dull disappointment that was Quantum of Solace (2008).

The pressure on Mendes to deliver is undoubtedly huge after his last effort in which he killed off Judi Dench’s M, delved deep into Bond’s past and blew up the MI6 building in Vauxhall Cross.

Daniel Craig is back for the fourth time in the famous tuxedo and armed with his Walther PPK. A cryptic message from the past sends Bond on a rogue mission to Mexico City and eventually Rome, where he meets Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci), the beautiful and forbidden widow of an infamous criminal. Following a lead, Bond infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of Spectre.

Meanwhile, back in London, Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott), the new head of the Centre for National Security, questions Bond’s actions and challenges the relevance of MI6, now led by Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes).

Bond covertly enlists Moneypenny and Q to help him seek out Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), the daughter of his old nemesis Mr White (Jesper Christensen), who may hold the clue to untangling the web of Spectre. As the daughter of an assassin, she understands Bond in a way most others cannot.

As Bond homes in on the heart of the sinister organisation, he learns of a chilling connection between himself and the enemy he seeks, played by Christoph Waltz.

All the hallmarks will be here — frenetic action sequences, sardonic humour and familiar faces with Ben Whishaw as Q and Naomie Harris as Moneypenny.

But the big draw of this film for many will be double Oscar-winner Waltz. A truly gifted actor, it seems an achievement in itself that Mendes was able to persuade him to take the role.

The Bond franchise is now set firmly on a different course. Gone is the slapstick violence, ridiculous gadgets and casual sexism that characterised earlier films.

They now focus on Bond as a deeply flawed and often vulnerable protagonist, struggling to defend his country but also to find his place in it, and because of this they go from strength to strength.

Spectre is showing at Henley’s Regal Picturehouse from Monday.

Review: David White

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