I am a feminist who loves James Bond. They are movies of my childhood, thanks to my English father. Then there was CTV, who looked at their launch budget and licensed the whole series to fill airtime until they could fill the channel with original programming.
Whether it’s true or not, it feels like, being a kid without cable in the ‘80s and ‘90s, I watched more reruns than anything else. One of my favourites—and my formative model of heterosexual attraction—was REMINGTON STEELE. So when Pierce Brosnan became the new James Bond in 1995—the year I turned 14—I was ready to fall in love.
GOLDENEYE is a good action movie, not just a good Bond movie. It will always be my number one, for so many other reasons, but I believe it, objectively, belongs in the top five of anyone’s list.
My number two is SKYFALL, for another self-indulgent reason. I was, as many fans were, skeptical about Daniel Craig taking over the role. The picture of James Bond in my head, in many of our heads, is a dark-haired man, not a blonde. But the beauty of Bond is how he changes every time. How he changes with the times.
I needn’t worry, though, because SKYFALL had an ace up the sleeve of an over-sized anorak. It was Ben Whishaw, not Craig, who won me over. I don’t even remember the first thing I saw him in, but I’ve been a fan for a long time. His Richard III was my kind of weirdo; THE HOUR was my kind of prestige TV (and the best era of menswear). Ben Whishaw’s CV is a list of projects that sound interesting, instead of blockbuster hits.
(I went to look and now I remember: I’M NOT THERE, Todd Hayne’s Bob Dylan biopic, where Ben played the floppy-haired poet Bob.)
SKYFALL was on TV last week, and I clicked over as the first scene between Bond and Q began. It’s shot in the National Gallery, in a series of static wide shots, framed like the paintings surrounding them. I love the colours, the silence, the contrasts, the deliberate choice of paintings over each shoulder.
It feels like a new era of Bond.