Posted by Irresponsibility
I am not oblivious to the fact that being a radical feminist and rabid James Bond fan is about as congruous as being a Buddhist butcher. Nevertheless, I love Bond movies.
Especially since Daniel Craig took over from the oleaginous Pierce Brosnan (even his name sounds like a bad double entendre) and made Bond sexy, smart and dangerous. Finally, after all these decades of Roger Moore squeezed into bad suits and Brosnan leaving a trail of smug slime across the screen, a Bond you can imagine women actually panting to get into bed with. (Yes, I’m a Craig-worshipper. Not only does he look better in a suit than any man I’ve ever seen, ever but he comes across – off-screen – as a humane, grounded kind of guy.)
Still, I watched Quantum of Solace with one eye on his picturesquely rugged features and the other on how women fare.
There is definite improvement. In one scene M – the fabulous Dame Judi Dench – is at home in her dressing gown, applying moisturiser. So far, so ickily “feminine” but what struck me was how the camera lingered affectionately on Dench’s unmade-up, un-Botoxed, resolutely real-looking skin. Her face isn’t a flawless peach. You can see veins, darker blotches on her cheeks and bags under her eyes. It is a face befitting her age and dignity; a face often associated with heroes but rarely with heroines.
This cheered me, as did the broad burn scar on the back of Camille (Olga Kurylenko). It’s a movie-scar, not a real one, but for once at least a female character is allowed a blemish that makes her more interesting and attractive. On the whole, Camille fares better than the usual Bond anti-heroine. She still has to hike through the desert in a ballgown and barefeet while Bond gets to stride along, properly dressed and shod; and in the climactic scene she sheds her shirt to fight in a photogenically fitting white vest (Bond, by contrast, manages to remain fully clothed in his fight sequences) but at least she’s wearing combat trousers and baseball boots.
Best of all, Camille and James part with a simple kiss – one that conveys affection, compassion, gratitude and warmth, rather than just lust. Then she walks away, still in her grubby combat trousers, to whatever her own life holds.
It isn’t exactly the revolution, but it’s a hell of an improvement. I’m mildly optimistic that if the trend continues I’ll someday be able to sit down with a daughter and watch Bond moves with joyful, popcorn-gobbling, unguilty abandon.
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