SPECTRE Film Review
4.25 / 5
One word needed: SPECTACULAR
Daniel Craig is back for his fourth outing as James Bond in this pulsatingly exciting adventure that is quite simply two-and-a-half-hours of spectacular espionage wonderment. Bond’s hands-on investigations take him to a plethora of countries in his mission to discover and uncover the formidable organisation, SPECTRE. His mission takes him to the carnival atmosphere of Mexico City, to picturesque Rome, the snowy peaks of Austria, the desolate, sandy Tangier and of course the centrepoint of MI5’s business, London.
MI5 is at the centre of a reorganisation which is headed by “cocky bastard” Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott), who intends to collate all of the world’s intelligence services in one multi-national base called Nine Eyes, in his visionary bid to eliminate the threat of terrorism and other large scale attacks. He also takes offence to the old-fashioned and outdated 00-programme and he intends to abolish it as he ushers in a new era of absolute surveillance which is the stuff of “Orwell’s nightmares”. Nine Eyes ensures that the world’s intelligence agencies come aboard with a series of orchestrated attacks which tip the balance in their favour, leaving M in an impossible position as he becomes helpless in tracking and helping Bond.
Bond begins his journey in Mexico City on “The Day of the Dead”, which is expertly shot and choreographed and contains the most extras in one single scene in any Bond film ever. The opening sets the film up perfectly in this slick, complex and dazzling fashion that continues throughout the film, none more so than the fascinating scenes in Rome which follow on from the events that had taken place in Mexico City. Bond enters Rome as he follows a clue he picked up in the chaos of Mexico City, which brings him into the headquarters of SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) and the evil mastermind Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz). The audience and Bond witness the eerily menacing boardroom-styled meeting of the SPECTRE organisation, and Oberhauser exudes a palpable and sinister authority as well as a shadowy presence that requires all of his subordinates to remain silent. SPECTRE’s meeting also sees the grisly introduction of henchman and assassin Mr. Hinx (Dave Bautista), who shows his credentials in violent, devastating and quite simply brutal fashion. Following the meeting, which demonstrated the perfect balance of danger and power that SPECTRE possess, Bond and Mr. Hinx engage in an utterly brilliant car chase that sees Bond’s customised Aston Martin DB10 versus Hinx’s Jaguar C-X75. The chase took them through a myriad of cobbled back-alley streets as well as some of Rome’s landmarks while Bond inevitably attempted to use the gadgets Q installed to thwart Hinx’s pursuit.
From this, Bond then travels to Austria where he encounters his main love interest, Dr Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) who travels with him to Tangier as Bond steadily makes his way further into the hidden and expertly-crafted web of Oberhauser, who he shares a dark history with. The journey there is not without hitch (obviously), and Bond and Mr. Hinx’s ongoing battle continues, this time aboard a train, and it is shot in such realistic and pulsating fashion. An aside, the Bond/Mr. Hinx scenes in Rome, Austria and Tangier were a personal highlight of the film, as they were filmed brilliantly and in such fluid and slick fashion that it is conceivable that Craig and Bautista could make good assassins, such was their acting and fighting abilities.
Oberhauser, played phenomenally by Waltz, shows the extent of his villain credentials in an excruciating scene that showcases his sadistic personality and personal rivalry with Bond. The scene could be interpreted as a modern, up-to-date version of the scenes in the Connery and Moore films where they’re tied to chair or pinned down and a laser is inching closer. This time though, its shock effect is considerable and it’ll no doubt have the audience clenching their hands tightly around their cinema seat.
The film finishes in fantastic style, as Sam Mendes cleverly brings together the different strands of storyline that appear in the film to a tense and edge-of-the-seat conclusion. Craig once again looks right at home in this espionage thriller and audiences around the world would love to see him return for one final outing as the world’s favourite secret agent. Spectre is up there with the best of the Bond films for me, and it should be after considering the eye-watering £200m that has been splashed out on it (including £26m on crashing cars!) The action scenes were all on point, Waltz was the perfect villain, the Bond ladies exuded sensuality and passion, Q (Ben Wishaw) was the brilliant tech-whiz, Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) the loyal friend of Bond and M the master of the MI5 ship. Bond, Q and M all provided some light relief with some lovely one liners and witty retorts to their adversaries, which seen a return to a traditional Bond last seen in Casino Royale.
Spectre is a must-see for any Bond and action film fan. And I for one will definitely be returning to the cinema to see it again. A thoroughly entertaining an dazzling show-stopper of a film and is sure to rival the feats set by it’s predecessor Skyfall, and hopefully convince Mr. Craig to don a suit with a Vodka Martini one last time.