I hope you don't mind my husband butting in on our conversation (that is not my husband above, that of course is Daniel Craig).
My husband, Giles Coren, will only be with us for a moment. He's just got a few words to say. It's a piece that was supposed to go in The Times on Saturday, you see - only they wouldn't run it. It was about James Bond and there's been too much Bond, they said, someone else is doing something on something or other. So write something else, yeah Giles? Well my husband is an accommodating sort of chap so he said okay then - but it's such a good piece it deserves to be read and Tweeted and to bust out from behind the paywall will make him so very chipper.
I promise this won't be a regular thing.
Coming soon: a recipe!!!
(The piece they tried to ban. Warning! This contains plot spoilers...)
by Giles Coren
There is a moment in the new James Bond film so vile, sexist and sad that it made me feel physically sick. If you have not seen the film and fear a spoiler, then look away now. Or cancel your tickets and do something less horrible instead. Like pull all your fingernails out.
In short, there is a young woman in this film whom Bond correctly identifies (in his smug, smart-arse way) as a sex-worker who was kidnapped and enslaved as a child by human traffickers. She is now a brutalised and unwilling gangster’s moll. She gives no sign of being sexually interested in Bond, merely of being incredibly scared and unhappy. So he creeps uninvited into her hotel shower cubicle later that night, like Jimmy Savile, and silently screws her because he is bored.
That is vile enough. And totally out of keeping, I’d have thought, with Daniel Craig’s Bond. But it gets much worse when she is later tied up with a glass of whisky on her head in a hilarious William Tell spoof, and shot dead in a game devised by the baddie. We knew already knew the baddie was bad, so there was no plot developing element here. It was merely disgusting, exploitative, 1970s-style death-porn (like when Roger Moore torpedoed the beautiful girl in the helicopter in The Spy Who Loved Me and then joked about it – a scene from which it has taken me 35 years to recover).
The ‘new’ Bond’s immediate response to the killing of a tragic, abused, indentured slave woman is to say, “waste of good scotch” (this must be the ‘humour’ Daniel Craig said he was keen to put back into the role) and then kill everyone. He could have done it three minutes before and saved her. But that wouldn’t have been as funny, I guess.
That Macallan (the whisky brand on her head) presumably paid to be involved in the scene, as part of the film’s much-touted product placement programme, is utterly baffling to me.
Personally, I am ashamed, as a journalist, of the five star ratings this film garnered across the board from sheep-like critics afraid or unable to look through the hype, to its rotten soul.
I am ashamed, as a man, that women are still compelled in the 21st century to watch movies in which the three female outcomes are:
1) Judi Dench’s ‘M’ dies, and is replaced by a man;
2) The young abuse victim is shagged by Bond and then killed for a joke; and
3) The pretty girl who manages to remain chaste despite Bond’s ‘charms’ is rewarded at the end with a job as his secretary.
And I am ashamed, as a British person, that this film will be mistaken abroad for an example of prevailing values here. It is a sick, reactionary, depressing film and its director, Sam Mendes, should be ashamed of himself, all the way to the bank.