James Bond descends into mystery as he tries to stop a mysterious organisation from eliminating a country's most valuable resource.James Bond descends into mystery as he tries to stop a mysterious organisation from eliminating a country's most valuable resource.James Bond descends into mystery as he tries to stop a mysterious organisation from eliminating a country's most valuable resource.
The film opens with a car chase - Bond is being pursued by thugs. Why? We find out later, but the fact that we have no information at the start makes it really hard to care about the action. On top of that, the camera is moving and cutting every half-second so it's nearly impossible to tell what's even happening. This shaky-cam technique is used throughout the film and it's as disorienting as it is annoying.
We're eventually led to our Bond Girl, Camille, who is a unique Bond Girl for having her own character arc (and her own villain), then she leads Bond to our main villain, Dominic Greene - a businessman who wants to buy a pipeline to control Bolivia's water supply. Not exactly a James Bond-level threat, is it? Greene is no match for Bond physically in any sense, but their final confrontation is gratifying if only to see a villain genuinely, and rightly, terrified of Bond. It's great fun to watch Greene yelp as he's swinging an axe around for dear life while his fuel cell-ridden desert hotel explodes around him.
The rest plays out like a standard revenge story. Camille wants revenge against General Medrano for killing her family, and Bond wants revenge for Vesper by going after the organization that was blackmailing her. The writing is stilted and unpolished, but where the movie mainly fails is in its directing. It's pretentious and tonally clashes with the dark character study of Bond that the script is going for. It also doesn't help when the action scenes keep cutting away to a nearby horse race or an opera.
What we have here is a Bond-Bourne hybrid that had the impossible burden of having to follow Casino Royale. However, it's nice to see a gritty Bond adventure for a change. It's not a great Bond movie, but it's engaging enough to be a good time if you're able to look past its flaws.
- Nov 25, 2019