Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Name’s Blond, Blond Satan

Wandered along to the new James Bond movie on Friday night, anticipating a very good time on the basis that the reviews were saying Bond had gone psycho while trying to avenge the murder of Vesper in Casino Royale (actually, that bit I didn’t really get, because if memory serves Vesper ratted out Bond near the end of Casino Royale – so why should he give a rat’s fundament? Or wasn’t I paying attention?). Anyway, if you liked Daniel Craig’s first outing as Bond, you’ll probably like this one too. It’s a tad darker in tone, although it’s nowhere as bleakly nihilistic as some folk were reporting, and Craig is probably the most effective Bond yet, Connery included. There’s a beautiful little moment early on in the flick, where, having dispensed with yet another bad guy, Bond pauses to take the guy’s pulse and ensure he’s dead before moving on to search his room. You can believe that quality of sadistic professionalism of Craig’s Bond, his impassive features and ice-blue eyes perfect for the part of Fleming’s (barely) human weapon – watching Craig in the early part of the movie, actually, I was reminded of Hammett’s description of Sam Spade as ‘a blond Satan’. Unfortunately, that little interlude is about the only original or fresh idea in the entire movie. It’s all put together with some style, and the various chase scenes are quite polished – although the editing in the early sections appear to have been done by a team of monkeys deprived of their Ritalin – but the overall sense of the thing is that they’re still chasing the Bourne market with a more downbeat, ruthless Bond, while still hung up on the idea of Bond being a noble character who only wants what’s best for queen and country. It’s all jolly good fun, mind, and it’s a hell of a lot better than most Bond flicks – but you just wish, with Craig in the role, they were prepared to let 007 off the leash, just for once.


bookwitch said...

Because he really liked her, you insensitive male!

Dana King said...

Sounds like they found the ideal actor to explore the Bond character more fully, but they still can't get past their primal need to blow shit up. Why is it so few people understand you can do both?

Word verification = luseli, which I believe is Olde English for "not tightly."

adrian mckinty said...

Great review. I wasn't that keen on Casino Royale but this sounds more my cup of tea. And shorter, right? C R was way too long I thought.

Anonymous said...

That's a bit illogical, Ms Witch ... Where's the plausible narrative progression in that?

Adrian - Apparently it's the shortest Bond movie ever. CR was way too long, absolutely. Thrillers should be like the SAS - get in, do damage, get out.

Dana - Correct, sir; exploring character whilst blowing shit up is the way forward.

Cheers, Dec

bookwitch said...

You need more Mills & Boon, "anonymous". That would teach you how romantic it is for macho men to avenge bad things that have happened to the women in their lives. John Wayne always had a dead wife and child in the background.