Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux
Director: Sam Mendes
Running Time: 148 mins
Spectre is a British film and the twenty-fourth instalment in the James Bond series. As MI6’s historic intelligence programme is threatened with closure, Bond finds himself caught up in a mysterious global plot orchestrated by the evil organisation, SPECTRE.
This is an absolutely spectacular addition to the Bond series, featuring a thrilling plot as well as deep and unpredictable intrigue from start to finish. What’s more is that it expertly blends the tropes of both classic and modern Bond together to make a hugely satisfying and well-rounded film, making this surely one of the best there has ever been in the entire series.
In comparison to its predecessor, Skyfall, which was also a hugely entertaining film, however, Spectre is a much more mature and effective film. It doesn’t have as fast pacing as Skyfall did, and nor does it feature action sequences as long and as big as that film, but what it does have is a brilliant sense of patience, waiting all the time to strike at the moment when you least expect it, and when that happens, it’s a truly wonderful feeling.
So, don’t expect to be constantly on the edge of your seat at every moment in this film, but do expect to feel totally and utterly engrossed in what is easily the most mysterious Bond plot of all. Yes, so many before have managed to have an unpredictable story, but there has never been a Bond movie like Spectre, that always holds back the big action scenes and big reveals, making you work hard and think hard about the story, and that just invests you so much more.
Don’t think, however, that this isn’t an action-packed film, because it is. There are some astonishing chase and fight sequences that hark back to the golden days of James Bond in the 1960s and 70s, with Dave Bautista’s Jaws-like henchman character providing a good deal of the scares and excitement in all of them.
But for once, this isn’t that sort of film. Sure, you’ll still get a great kick out of the action, but there are other things at play here that are so much more effective in creating tension, mystery and excitement than what big explosions can ever do.
Thanks to the sublime direction of Sam Mendes, the stunning performances by Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux and Christoph Waltz, so many scenes feature an overpowering sense of dread and eeriness that are heightened by the frequent extreme silences, and it really makes for effective tension and drama at every moment.
Finally, Spectre triumphs spectacularly in the characterisation of James Bond. We’ve seen Bond on the back foot before, we’ve seen him victimised by his own organisation, but never have we seen Bond appear so truly weak. Craig still puts in the effort as a strong action hero, but the bulk of his performance comes in the form of showing 007’s fear and anxiety of the mysterious forces at play in this story, to such an extent that, throughout the film, Bond’s life is in a genuine, tangible danger like it never has been before.
Overall, Spectre gets an 8.2 from me, because although you may not find it as exhilarating as some of the more explosive Bond films, it deserves huge credit for uniquely straying into darker, more mature waters and providing a massively satisfying and captivating mystery all the same.