26 October 2012 2:16 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Judi Dench takes centre stage, and 007 faces a terrifying blond-off with Javier Bardem, in a supremely enjoyable 50th-anniversary outing

This is the seventh time Judi Dench has played the enigmatic spy-chief M. But it is only in this storming new Bond movie that her M has really been all that she could be. Under the stylish direction of Sam Mendes, Dench's M is quite simply the Bond girl to end all Bond girls. Watching this, I thought: of course. How could I have missed it? The real tension isn't with Moneypenny, but with the boss herself. Now M is an imperious, subtly oedipal intelligence-matriarch with the double-o boys under her thumb. She's treating them mean. She's keeping them keen. And she is rewarded with passionate loyalty, varying with smouldering resentment. It's a combination with its own unspoken eroticism, and it has also created the conditions for one of the most »

- Peter Bradshaw

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