Spectre review: ‘Very nearly a 21st century Goldfinger’

PUBLISHED: 09:03 29 October 2015

Daniel Craig is James Bond in Spectre. Picture: Jonathan Olley

Daniel Craig is James Bond in Spectre. Picture: Jonathan Olley

SPECTRE © 2015 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., Danjaq, LLC and Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All rights reserved.

Spectre may just be the pick of Daniel Craig’s Bond films, but a perfect first half is let down by the finale, says Michael Joyce.

Much of western culture is infused with a sense of regret at having misplaced most of the best things from the ‘60s. The ficticious crime syndicate SPECTRE vanished from the Bond films at the end of that decade and its absence has been keenly felt; the Bond series has spent the last four and a half decades trying to rediscover the glamour and peerless confidence of the Connery/ Lazenby era. In Spectre, 
Bond 24, they get it back; and then let it slip through their fingers.

The first hour of Spectre is magnificent. There’s been much speculation about what a possible Christopher Nolan-directed Bond film might look like and I would suggest it would be very much like this. It is beautifully shot but mostly it is just so casually assured. Everything is seamless and perfect: even that Sam Smith song.

The Craig era, such a departure when it started out, has now circled all the way back to embrace the classic Bond movie formula. Spectre has all the traditional elements we’ve come to expect from a Bond film and delivers them in more or less the traditional order: it’s just done with more wit, skill, intelligence and zip than before. And yes, just like classic Bond, it is silly, very silly. Spectre is an absurd and outdated conceit, yet the grace with which the film moulds it onto contemporary fears about our surveillance culture is rather smart.

Something happens to the film around the hour mark though. It stops being a modern day Connery Bond, and becomes more of a modern day Moore Bond. Having started out like it knew exactly where it was heading, it loses direction and allows casual globetrotting to replace plot. All the best stunts and action sequences come early on, and that means the climax is the film’s least effective set piece.

Nobody Does It Better, according to the Carly Simon song, suggesting that in the bedroom Bond offers total satisfaction. The films though invariably leave you a little frustrated, a little unfulfilled. Spectre may just be the pick of the Craig Bonds, but for a while it offers you a glimpse of something much more, a 21st Century Goldfinger.

Rating: 4/5 stars

For a review of the Blu-ray release of Rock Hudson’s ‘60s sci-fi thriller Seconds, go to halfmanhalfcritic.weebly.com

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Stories

9 minutes ago

Sarries players Brad Barritt, Will Fraser, Neil de Kock and Schalk Brits took part in session last week

14:00

Royston Town visit Coles Park, while Blues ready to entertain National League side Woking

13:30

Middlesex man Dawid Malan could also make Test debut in game at the Oval

12:22

A teenage boy was shot in the foot while cycling through Regent’s Park.

12:00

North Middlesex beat ealing in final on Sunday

11:09

A company has revealed plans to transform a popular post office.

Spurs set for busy week of action in the International Champions Cup and prepared to play familar faces

His sister, Leonie Orton says: “Over the years, young men I’ve never met have come up to say they were closeted until they read Joe’s diary, that’s part of his legacy.”

Most read Hampstead & Highgate etcetera

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now