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Spectre - DVD Review

Spectre

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4.5 out of 5

DANIEL Craig’s fourth outing as 007 may just be the most complete Bond movie yet. Spectacular, stylish, dark but still amusing, Spectre is a thrilling entry that combines the best of Bond movies old and new.

Returning director Sam Mendes has taken the best elements of the flawed but entertaining Skyfall and created a follow-up that delivers almost two and a half hours of show-stopping action and genuinely satisfying intrigue.

In doing so, he successfully mines some classic 007 iconography for some crowd-pleasing reveals, while remaining true to the more gritty action style that has been Craig’s trademark since the franchise reviving Casino Royale.

And there is so much to savour, from the stunning opening sequence set amidst the Mexican Day of The Day parade (a franchise highlight) to a super-stylish night-time car chase through the streets of Rome, which truly comes alive on the approach to St Peter’s Square.

There’s also a bone-crunching fight between Bond and Dave Bautista’s Jaws-like Mr Hinx on a train (a clear homage to From Russia With Love), as well as a superb sequence in Austria involving more cars and a plane – all of which is vividly brought to life by Hoyte Van Hoytema’s stunning cinematography.

But even in its quiet moments Spectre delivers the goods, whether in a talky final confrontation between Bond and the elusive Mr White (Jesper Christensen) or during a ridiculously tense (but superbly well lit) introduction to Christoph Waltz’s big bad around a board meeting table. Léa Seydoux’s potential love interest is also a highlight in the way that she capably continues the more recent trend of having Bond women give as good as they get.

And that’s not forgetting some of the more tongue-in-cheek interplay, whether in the enjoyably witty banter that exists between Bond and Q (Ben Whishaw) or a deliciously delivered final act put down by M to one of his adversaries.

In plot terms, Spectre expands on arcs that were first introduced in Casino Royale and fleshed out in Skyfall to deliver a story that is both personal to Bond himself and more observant of the world around him. The nods to surveillance and drones are timely and lend proceedings a certain immediacy.

That’s not to say that Spectre isn’t without criticism. Some of the ‘surprises’ are a little too signposted for those that know their way around the genre, while certain players feel wasted – none more so than Monica Bellucci’s widower, whose interplay with Bond harks back to a bygone 007 attitude to women. The film could also use one really decent shock to completely subvert expectation and take things to an even higher level.

But these are but minor flaws in a film that consistently excels. If – as rumours suggest – Spectre marks Craig’s final bow as 007, then it’s safe to say that the actor departs on a high.