Film Reviews

SPECTRE

By • Nov 9th, 2015 •

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Terrific and perfect. Challenges Casino Royale as my favorite. Craig delivers a farewell – even the signature gun barrel sequence as an opening* – with everything but gratitude now that it’s “supposedly” over for him.

I was required to pledge a vow of omertà not to reveal “spoilers” in my review of SPECTRE. There is plenty to say without ruining the plot.

I brought a copy of Kevin Dutton’s new book, The Wisdom of Psychopaths: Lessons in Life from Saints, Spies and Serial Killers. The opening paragraph on Dutton’s website for purchasing copies of his book says: “In fact, psychopaths have a lot of good things going for them. They are fearless, confident, charismatic, ruthless and focused – qualities tailor-made for success in twenty-first century society.”

And Kevin Dutton has famously labeled James Bond – our very own multi-billion-dollar franchise icon – a psychopath. Watch the short video,Kevin Dutton: A Psychological Analysis of James Bond.

I’ve taken Dutton’s psychopath quiz.
You can also by clicking here.

I’ve traveled all over the world – Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Kingdom of Tonga, 15 countries in Africa, including Mali, Benin, Toga, Rwanda and Burkina Faso, as well as all the other important countries of the world – even Antarctica. However, after SPECTRE, I must go back to Mexico for the Day of the Dead celebrations.

The opening sequence in Mexico City sets the dark tone. There will be no frilly, wild-haired villain. James Bond (Daniel Craig) will not be walking out of the Mediterranean Sea at the Monte-Carlo Beach in Monaco. Bond is attracted to a woman (Monica Bellucci) over 30! Quelle horreur!

SPECTRE begins with James Bond going rogue. He’s on an unsanctioned mission. Can anyone explain to me – a fan but not a 007 historian – how a “license to kill” is accepted by the multiple countries where these 00’s ply their trade? Does the Tunisian government just let a British citizen off the hook when told via a call from the Britain’s “M” (Ralph Fiennes) saying, “He’s one of ours. He has a license to kill.”?

Bond is preparing to sniper-kill a crime lord when he hears the plot to blow up Mexico’s Stadium. In what follows, Bond grabs the crime lord’s signet ring as he falls to his death.
The absolute destruction of Mexico City’s major buildings and the international uproar Bond caused, leads to “M” reading him the riot act. “M” introduces him to “C” (Anthony Scott) who feels the OO Program is outdated. He has a plan to bring all the intelligence under one umbrella. Bond and “M” will be out of a job. Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) will be reassigned and “Q” (Ben Wishaw) will probably get a promotion.

Bond’s biggest clue comes from the wife, Lucia (Bellucci), of a crime lord he killed. But first, who can resist Monica Bellucci, even at 50? Thank you Sam Mendes!

Lucia gives Bond a tip: There is a meeting taking place of all the powerful members of Spectre, ruled over by the shadowy – actually, in the shadows – mysterious Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz).

With Lucia safely sent to New York, Bond is directed to Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux), the daughter of an old enemy. Bond’s favorite venue for seduction seems to be the Hitchcockian train ride through a desert. Doesn’t a wild crucible of a knuckles-bare fistfight make you horny? It does to the once-indifferent Madeleine.

If you are a fan of all the previous Bond movies, then SPECTRE gives homage to all the set pieces that have become famous. And why not? Christoph Waltz, as puppet master Oberhauser, has the evil smile of all madmen hell-bent on world domination, but he lacks the physical presence of a true villain for me. And, Waltz has played too many of these characters. This should be his goodbye to villainy.

For the gossip that SPECTRE was filming without a completed screenplay and no ending, the writing staff, John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Jez Butterworth has shocked all the naysayers by delivering a really great Bond.

The U.K.’s Mirror reported the following: A source close to MGM said: “Daniel’s deal means he’ll bank $24million (£15.66m) for acting, around $6million (£3.82m) for endorsements and $30million (£19.58m) if the financial projections are on course.

Yet, Craig said some really terrible things recently in the press about James Bond. He said he’s keen to ditch his secret agent persona. When asked about doing another Bond film, he said: ‘Now? I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists. No, not at the moment. Not at all. I don’t know what the next step is. I’ve no idea.’

I did some checking. In 2012 reports in the press said that Craig had signed on for 2 more James Bond films after SKYFALL. So he’s under contract for one more Bond movie to be made by
2020. However…

Craig spoke to Esquire magazine for the September 2015 issue. He said that the upcoming SPECTRE is the final film under his original Bond contract and that he hasn’t yet signed on for any additional films, despite reports as SKYFALL was released that he signed for two additional films. So…he’s not contracted for any more Bond movies? “I don’t know,” he says. “I really don’t know. Honestly. I’m not trying to be coy. At the moment I can’t even conceive it.” Does he even want to make another 007 movie? “At this moment, no. I have a life and I’ve got to get on with it a bit. But we’ll see.”

So Daniel Craig does not know what he signed when handed the contract. His managers, agents, lawyers, and his wife never read the damn thing? What did his lawyer say to him? “Don’t bother reading it. Just sign the damn thing. I got you a co-producing credit.”

We can sympathize with Craig. Who wants to have everything done for you for months at a time? Who wants an assistant handing you a tissue before you want to blow your nose? Who wants to exercise all day long? Who wants to wear those couture suits?

Finally, who would want the divine Bellucci and every woman’s fantasy girlfriend Lea Seydoux (sensational in BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR) as your co-stars?

For all my seemingly bitchiness about Craig, he is fantastic in SPECTRE. He knows how to move and stand – feet apart – as a well-dressed psychopath would.

And something Dutton doesn’t know about a psychopath like Bond but women do, is exactly what it is about him that is so devastatingly appealing to women. James Bond desires – completely desires – the women he makes love to. He doesn’t jump on the bed, spread his legs and say, “Come and make it happen.” He delivers raw passion. His women excite him just by walking into the room. And, to answer Freud’s enduring question: This is exactly what women want.

*The opening gun barrel sequence for Daniel Craig’s first portrayal of Agent 007 in CASINO ROYALE (2006) did not, unlike previous installments, open the film as a standalone segment: it is part of the plot.

Member of Boadcast Film Critics Association: www.bfca.org

Member of Las Vegas Film Critics Society:www.lvfcs.org

Victoria Alexander lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and answers every email at masauu@aol.com.

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