starring Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes
screenplay by John Logan and Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and Jez Butterworth
directed by Sam Mendes
by Walter Chaw My favourite James Bond movie is On Her Majesty's Secret Service: the first without Sean Connery as Bond, and the first and only featuring Australian model George Lazenby in the role. It's the one where Bond falls in love, marries, and in the end is unable to protect his new bride from her demons. I like it the best because despite a few typically silly Bond moments, it has Bond's Moriarty, Blofeld (Telly Savalas in that film), acting as the spear in our hero's side, and it has Bond attempting to address his own failures as a human being and being taught, essentially, that the world is a cold place. I like it the best because it feels melancholy and hopeless. Bond is psychotic, you see, a serial philanderer and killer given license to do both by a broken state and the illusion of order. He's a rapist in Fleming's novels (and consider the conquest of Pussy Galore in Goldfinger)--literally in some instances, in others just given to taking advantage of women in extremis. It's a very particular ruling-class fantasy punctuated by gadgets and automobiles--film noir, except the code our ambiguous hero plays by is more Humphrey Bogart's from In a Lonely Place than Bogey's from The Maltese Falcon.