Armed with a license to kill, Secret Agent James Bond sets out on his first mission as 007, and must defeat a private banker to terrorists in a high stakes game of poker at Casino Royale, Montenegro, but things are not what they seem.
A cryptic message from the past sends James Bond on a rogue mission to Mexico City and eventually Rome, where he meets Lucia, the beautiful and forbidden widow of an infamous criminal. Bond infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of the sinister organisation known as SPECTRE. Meanwhile back in London, Max Denbigh, the new head of the Centre of National Security, questions Bond's actions and challenges the relevance of MI6 led by M. Bond covertly enlists Moneypenny and Q to help him seek out Madeleine Swann, the daughter of his old nemesis Mr White, who may hold the clue to untangling the web of SPECTRE. As the daughter of the assassin, she understands Bond in a way most others cannot. As Bond ventures towards the heart of SPECTRE, he learns a chilling connection between himself and the enemy he seeks.
The shot of Bond walking through the doorway of the former MI6, as well as the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. meeting, mark the first time since Goldfinger (1964) that footage from the film is featured in the title sequence of the film. The last time footage from any Bond film was shown in the title sequence was in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), although all clips in this sequence were that of the previous films, rather than from the film of the sequence. See more »
At the beginning of the train scene, Madeleine is wearing a deep red lipstick. Later when she is kissing Bond, her lips are in their natural nude color. See more »
The gunbarrel sequence has returned to the start of the movie. See more »
In August 2015, Columbia submitted the film to the BBFC in the UK for advice on whether the film would receive a 12A rating upon a formal submission. The BBFC informed the filmmakers that cuts would be required in two scenes before a 12A rating, instead of an uncut 15, could be obtained. These were made prior to formal submission and it was duly passed at 12A with no further changes.
Reductions to "strong bloody (injury) detail" were made in the following two scenes:
The eye gouging now only shows an establishing shot of the thumbs being inserted, then cuts to a counter-shot from behind the victim's head when the slightly bloody thumbs emerge. The uncut version showed this all from the front, including the aftermath.
The suicide now takes place off-screen and with reduced detail. The uncut version showed the man putting the gun under his chin and firing with a spray of bloody mist, and two subsequent shots showed brain tissue hanging down from the back of his head.
These cuts persist in all worldwide versions of the film. See more »
"Spectre" (2015), the twenty-fourth James Bond film, and directed by the Oscar-winner Sam Mendes, is a remarkably lithe affair. Mendes opens the film with an incredible, five-minute opening shot following Bond as he makes his way through the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico City. It's a stunning visual coup, unprecedented for the series or in any other similar action film of recent years, and announces that Mendes, after making "Skyfall" (2012), is still interested in innovating within what has become a venerable British institution.
Craig, reprising his role for the fourth (and it has been hinted, final) time, looks more relaxed and at ease as Bond than ever before. While still cutting a gaunt, serious figure, he can also handle the script's wry sense of humour: this is truly the funniest Bond in decades. He's ably supported by an impressive cast: Ralph Fiennes (as M), Ben Whishaw (playing Q) and Naomie Harris (Ms Moneypenny), making for an excellent recurring cast, while Léa Seydoux, Monica Bellucci and Christoph Waltz are very fine. Waltz in particular, relishes his villainous role, bringing a gleeful wickedness to his character. He lacks the visceral impact of Javier Bardem in "Skyfall", but his performance deserves to propel him into the upper echelons of Bond villains.
Hoyte van Hoytema's cinematography is superb, matching Roger Deakins' work on "Skyfall" by taking a very different approach: shooting on film, van Hoytema brings a sophisticated, classical elegance, capturing the blazing light of Morocco and the shadowy, diffused look of Rome. One of Mendes' key legacies during his tenure as director of the series will be how elegant photography defines both of his films.
That's not to say, however, it's a perfect film. It lacks the delicious surprise "Skyfall" provided, uprooting so many of our assumptions of what a Bond film was; "Spectre" is far more deliberately traditional. Worse, the screenplay, by John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Jez Butterworth, introduces a subplot about the potential closure of MI6. While it helps make the film feel very contemporary, the chief component, Max Denbigh (played by Andrew Scott), is disastrously underwritten and frankly, uninteresting, lengthening an already long film. The script also, mystifyingly, constructs a two-part climax which feels unnecessary. It under-utilises a fascinating location in favour of an overly-familiar one and try as Mendes might, he can't pull the broken-backed finale off.
Still, Thomas Newman's score is an improvement over his music for "Skyfall", introducing John Barry-esque strings and horns, while Mendes displays his panache as an action director with a number of thrilling sequences. It's a ferociously entertaining, unrelenting film, and questions of plausibility aside, it's a high watermark for the James Bond series.
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