Director: Sam Mendes
Cast: Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Monica Bellucci, Rory Kinnear, Jesper Christensen
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Age Rating: 12A/PG-13
Running Time: 148 Minutes
Packed with adrenaline-fuelled action, top class villains and an intelligent plot line, Sam Mendes brings us the brilliant, yet not mind-blowing, SPECTRE this autumn. The fourth instalment of the Daniel Craig 007 series, is a nail-biting and intense two and a half hour feature film which satisfies and excites throughout, but struggles to live up to the brilliance of the likes of CASINO ROYALE and SKYFALL.
After a Mexico City rogue mission goes wrong, James Bond (Daniel Craig) is grounded by MI6’s M (Ralph Fiennes) and the new head of the Centre of National Security, Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott) who is committed to abolish the out-dated Double 0 programme. Determined to finish the mission set by an integral figure in his past and uncover the sinister organisation known as Spectre, Bond uses his charm, expertise and most importantly deceit to find out who is co-ordinating the global terror surrounding him.
Like any Bond film, there needs to be a girl (or realistically a selection of girls) that he fights for or with, a brilliant villain and a brutish and temporarily indestructible right-hand man. SPECTRE most certainly covers these three, and adds a little twist which works brilliantly.
Christoph Waltz, known most recently for his roles in INGLORIOUS BASTERDS and DJANGO UNCHAINED, is superb as Bond’s super-villain Oberhauser, who has been intelligently introduced by blending all the events of the previous Craig films. His display is so chilling; however I cannot help but feel that he was not used enough in this film.
Dave Bautista, the most recent successful version of a wrestler turned actor, plays Oberhauser’s right hand man Hinx, who shocks from the off and apart from minimalistic dialogue, does his job very well.
My sore point with not particularly the casting in this film, but the relationship between the characters, lays with this feature’s damsel in distress turned sidekick, Madeleine Swan (played by Léa Seydoux). If we look back to CASINO ROYALE and the brilliant Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), who Bond falls for helplessly and who appears to be the love of his life throughout the poor QUANTUM OF SOLACE, and my second favourite; SKYFALL, you would think it would take some kind of special relationship to replace her, but instead, Bond seems to fall head over heels with a fellow assassin’s daughter in seconds (due to the fact that she is not introduced until half-way through the film), and as a result I felt that the last hour all became a bit unconvincing and rushed.
Finally, although I do love Ralph Fiennes as M (formerly known in SKYFALL as Gareth Mallory), I did feel as though somehow this Bond did not have the same charm and charisma as he did under the true ‘M’, Dame Judi Dench. She was definitely missed as the story moved on, and I think the feature unfortunately lost a degree of humour with her out of the picture.
Overall, I do not want to take too much away from SPECTRE. It is an exhilarating, tense and intelligently told spy thriller, which captures perhaps the last remaining class of Daniel Craig as James Bond, and acts as a true celebration of this multi-director 007 series. It hosts two (or maybe three…) brilliantly thought out villains and keeps a lot of the mystery and action in the UK, much like SKYFALL. It falls short of a 4.5 or 5 star rating from me due to its decaying charm and wit, its weak romance sub-plot, and unfortunately I just think it fails to provide the superb emotional journey that CASINO ROYALE gave us. For me it is just on par with SKYFALL, but once again, a Bond film which is well worth the watch and will leave you itching to be a secret agent.
Last but not least, I just want to say that this review was written in loving memory of our beautiful friend DB10… Yet another beautiful specimen destroyed by the recklessness of a silly British secret agent. #RIPDB10
Recommendation: A must watch for any Bond fan out there. A great (but definitely not the best) instalment in Craig’s 007 franchise which will have you tense throughout. Worth a visit to the cinema.