Film Review: Spectre

In association with the Grosvenor

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Opening at a macabre parade in Mexico, Spectre starts like any classic Bond film: a pretty woman left waiting in the hotel room as Bond finishes an assassination; a mission that goes awry; and an explosive fight scene where Bond manages to pilot a plummeting helicopter to safety, all before the opening credits roll.

On first hearing Sam Smith’s sombre theme, I was ambivalent. However, the dark shadow that hangs over the film and the atmospheric beauty of the opening credits mean that the song fits perfectly into our experience of seeing yet another dark dimension to Daniel Craig’s Bond.

Continuing where Skyfall left off, a vengeful 007 finds himself disobeying orders from MI6 in order to carry out the previous M’s dying wish: kill a man called Sciarra and do not miss the funeral.

In many ways I’ve enjoyed how Mendes has breathed life into the recent Bond films: the conflicted anti-hero, the focus on Bond’s past instead of the double entendres of the seventies films, and the tough love interests who prove to be a strong match for Bond, rather than the clichéd Bond girls who swoon in the presence of their gentlemanly hero.

Though I have to admit that I do appreciate the elements that hearken back to the classic films. Firstly we have the humour, such as when Bond tells his new superior that he will “just call you C”. Secondly we are teased about whether Bond will (finally!) have gadgets in his car. And thirdly I think part of the fun of the Bond films lies in pointing out the plot holes, and there are certainly one or two to sink our teeth into, such as WHERE THE HELL DID HE GET THAT PLANE? We also have the return of one of the series’s most iconic villains, eerily portrayed by Christoph Waltz.

Though the film is overlong, it is still one of Craig’s best. The scenes are exquisite, the action is tense and violent, and the torture scene in particular is psychologically chilling and totally compelling.

The recent prequel-esque Bond films have tried to launch Bond into the twenty-first century. Skyfall showed us the potential of the Bond franchise; Spectre can only strengthen its position.

[Liam Caldwell]

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