wed 22/05/2019

Spectre | reviews, news & interviews

Spectre

Spectre

Surely Daniel Craig can't quit just as he's getting so good at it?

Daniel Craig as Bond, miraculously unscathed after wrecking an unsuspecting aeroplane

The title sequence of Bond number 24 is a bit of a nightmare, with Sam Smith's mawkishly insipid theme song playing over a queasy title sequence featuring a hideous giant octopus, but the traditional opening mini-movie is an explosive chain reaction which doesn't disappoint. This takes us to Mexico City on the Day of the Dead, where Daniel Craig's ghoulishly attired Bond is on a mission to take out a chap called Sciarra.

He does this at some length, casually demolishing an entire city block and then engaging in an epic punch-up inside a loop-the-looping helicopter. But back in London, Bond, who has been freelancing off the grid, is not popular. Not only is MI5 being merged with MI6, but a sinister new bureaucrat is in charge (C, or Max Denbigh, played by Andrew Scott, pictured below), the whole world is going to be put under outrageous undemocratic surveillance by a consortium of intelligence agencies, and the double-o agents are being mothballed. It looks bleak for Bond, and for his boss M (a tight-lipped Ralph Fiennes).

It's the ghost of the previous M (Judi Dench) who comes back to rekindle the soul of her beloved secret service, leaving a video message from beyond the grave. This has led Bond to Sciarra, next it takes him to Sciarra's funeral in Rome, and, via a too-brief dalliance with the balefully beautiful Signora Sciarra (Monica Belluci), onward to unravel the fiendish web of the global terror organisation Spectre.

This isn't the perfect Bond. It's overlong at two and half hours, and there are intermittent longueurs before it finally gets all the afterburners firing for the concluding 45 minutes. But lots of it is great, too. Daniel Craig, finally, is learning to hang loose inside those impeccably tailored suits, and let the dry one-liners come to him. Ben Whishaw, the new bangs-and-gadgets man Q, gets more rope this time and exploits it fully as a deftly played super-nerd, a kind of Alan Turing for the Grand Theft Auto V generation. The way he reduces himself to helpless giggling with his own joke about the Aston Martin Bond wrecked in Skyfall – "I said bring it back in one piece, not bring back one piece!" – is priceless (Whishaw with Craig, pictured below).

Director Sam Mendes and his writing team (John Logan, Neil Purvis, Robert Wade and Jez Butterworth) have taken care to frame Spectre as not only a continuation of the Craig-era Bonds, with nods to characters from Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace and their bearing on the current plot, but also a look further back in time. The mountaintop clinic in Austria where Bond meets Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux, pictured below) is almost like a verbatim quote from On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and his train journey with her across the desert from Tangier, fending off an outsized bad guy en route, is From Russia With Love in a warmer climate. Bond's battle with this bloke, incidentally, is an Olympic-sized riot of shattering woodwork, flying bodies and exploding porcelain.

For our supervillain du jour, Franz Oberhauser – but is that his real name? – we have the great Christoph Waltz, though disappointingly he never quite gets to cut loose. If he'd just reprised his SS colonel role from Inglourious Basterds, that would have done nicely. Nonetheless, there is some compensation in a particularly unpleasant torture scene, where Bond suffers the most barbaric dental treatment since Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man.

The denouement falls into place in the ruins of the MI6 building in London (still not repaired after Skyfall – Whitehall cuts presumably). The message is "Never trust a bureaucrat or a politician", and there's a nice line in old-fashioned indignation from Fiennes, genuinely outraged at all these bastards who are playing fast and loose with our traditional freedoms and sense of fair play. Can Daniel Craig really hang up his Walther PPK after this one?

  • Spectre goes on general release on Monday 26 October
Bond suffers the most barbaric dental treatment since Dustin Hoffman in 'Marathon Man'

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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Comments

You dam well right he can't quit he got 1 more Bond movie to do then he might quit or do a 6th.

Daniel Craig has overstayed his welcome. He has made some excellent Bond flicks and it's time to move on. One more will be like watching that great athlete who hangs on too long. Idris Elba or Richard Robert Madden would be the top choices. Idris Elba will give the franchise a much needed punch as it's becoming a recycled flavor. I mean, I love Vanilla Ice Cream but I wouldn't love to eat vanilla ice cream exclusively forever!

But I'm guessing you haven't seen him in Spectre yet?

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