Guest Post: Bond’s Darkest Moments

I spoke to James over at Mr Rumsey’s Film Related Musings to give me the final post for my Bond run, which was a major success. I want to thank everyone who followed it and got involved with it and put their opinions out there. It was great fun, and I think that James put together a fantastic post, pointing out the difficult things that you see throughout the Bond films. Definitely a unique list! If you haven’t checked out James’s site, I would highly recommend it!

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Bond is one of my all-time favourite characters, and is undeniably one of the silver screen’s biggest and best heroes; he always saves the day, and is (often) undeniably cool whilst doing so. However, he has done more than his fair share of despicable things in his time ranging from his treatment of Sévérine, the former victim of the sex trade, to locking a guy in a draw full of maggots in Licence to Kill. Here are my top five examples of Bond at his worst.

It should go without saying, but expect big spoilers in this post!

bonds-darkest-moments

Killing 006

Best friend turned villain, Alec Trevelyan (aka 006) is saved from plummeting to his death by Bond, but not for long. Trevelyan asks ‘For England James?’ to which, with no trace of forgiveness in his eyes, Bond replies ‘No, for me’ before then dropping his former friend to his death. It’s a cold, cold moment for Brosnan’s Bond, only beaten by…

Killing Elektra

Bond had a lot of options here; including just wrestling the radio out of Elektra’s hands, instead though he chooses to kill her in cold blood. Now I think it’s fair to say that Bond had a reasonable amount of feelings for Elektra, but even putting that aside, he unnecessarily kills her in front of a family friend, M. It’s a cruel, and unnecessary death, made worse by how Bond uses it to taunt Elektra’s lover Renard shortly afterwards.

Bond Kills Elektra

Leaving Dominic Greene in the desert

Bond drops Dominic Green in the middle of his own desert with nothing but a can of motor oil. ‘I bet you make it twenty miles before you consider drinking that.’ he quips. It’s a very cold and over the top death for this villain, especially considering Greene is not one of the villains who has hurt Bond by killing his wife, leading his second great love to her death in Venice, or by turning from best friend into betrayer – all of whom have had much quicker deaths or even have been let off the hook entirely!

Treatment of Solitaire

In Live and Let Die Bond meets Solitaire, a tarot card reader in the employment of notorious gangster Mr Big. She is only useful as an employee if she still has her talents, which she only keeps if she remains a virgin. Of course Bond cannot resist such temptation and tricks her into believing that he and her are destined to be lovers with a false set of cards. She doesn’t have any useful information for him, and as a result of Bond’s trickery she is effectively marked for death by her boss, loses all power she ever had, and is reduced to being a scared, useless Bond girl. If it weren’t for Bond’s totally flippant and uncaring attitude towards ruining her life, then this might be somewhat more forgivable.

Bond and Sol

Treatment of Pussy Galore

There are far, far too many uncomfortable moments where Bond ‘seduces’ a woman by forcing himself upon her, but the worst has to be Pussy Galore’s rape scene. Of course the film doesn’t paint Bond as the villain here, but after the two of them spar Bond forces her into kissing him and does not relent until she finally gives in to him. It’s horrific to watch and is made worse when you read the book and can confirm what is hinted at in the film; that she is in fact a lesbian who Bond thinks he can ‘turn straight’ through violently assaulting her. The fact that he succeeds in his attempts is just unforgivable.

So there we have it, my top five deplorable Bond moments! It should be said that I embrace this side of the Bond character, with exception to his treatment of women of course. He can be a really unpleasant person at times, which makes him far more interesting and three-dimensional. In my opinion, the series is at its weakest when he is painted as a nice hero, rather than a tough, complex character.

Are there any moments that I missed which should be on here? Do you like or dislike this side of Bond’s character? Let me know what you think in the comment box below!

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35 thoughts on “Guest Post: Bond’s Darkest Moments

  1. Zoë says:

    Thanks James! What a fantastic post and a unique idea. It really shows that there is more to Bond than the ridiculous seductions (which are not always so simple) and gadgets all round and lame punchlines. This post is a great way of showing there is also a lot more than that.

    I like the darker side of Bond on occasion, such as when it came to things like leaving Greene in the desert (just punishment for letting innocent people dehydrate, etc. in my opinion), but then there is the twisted side which I do not like. It is a fine line to walk. I honestly feel that Craig’s Bond managed to balance the two sides out rather well, with the one exception.

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    • Mr Rumsey says:

      Thank you very much! And thank you for having me!

      Yes Greene certainly deserved punishment, but Bond rarely, if ever is this sadistic to his enemies. And it seems somewhat like overcompensation when you compare Green’s crimes to many of the other villains!

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      • Zoë says:

        But a pleasure!

        Ah, that may be the case, but I guess in Craig’s Bond’s place you need to give credit for the fact that he is in dreadful emotional turmoil after Vesper. It is the only way I can justify it.

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      • Mr Rumsey says:

        True, it’s going to be interesting to see how much anger he will be carrying on over against Quantum after the lull it takes in Skyfall.
        Let’s hope it is dealt with better than Spectre and Blofeld were!!

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  2. Tom says:

    Fantastic list Zoe, when it comes to looking at Bond’s bastard side, it really does become obvious how much of one type of a problem he has: being a misogynist. He is awful towards women and it is cringe-worthy at times. I’m failing to come up with any of my own, but what you covered here more than suffices! 😀

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    • Zoë says:

      Thanks Tom, but the list and idea belongs solely to James! 🙂

      There are plenty moments where I watched these movies and thought that a man would just never, ever get away with treating me like that! Thanks for reading!

      Like

  3. vinnieh says:

    That scene with Elektra is so interesting to watch, I believe she says “You wouldn’t kill me, you’d miss me”. She really believes he won’t kill a woman he has obviously cared for.

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  4. jjames36 says:

    Great list, James.

    After reading this, I now, finally, know why my mom hates Bond so much. She came of age during the Pussy Galore timeframe. Sexism and rape, for her, is an unforgivable transgression in art. She can’t accept it and won’t move past it. I knew about the rape scene, from reading previous reviews, but I didn’t know the subtext you deftly explain here, subtext which makes the scene even worse than I initially thought.

    So. Thank you, James (through Zoe), for giving me psychological insight into a person you’ve never met. 🙂

    Like

  5. Brian @ Hard Ticket to Home Video says:

    Nicely done! I would have included that scene in Octopussy where Bond pulls over the couple in the car and shoots the husband in the face and the wife only gets away after she honks the horn, which is Bond’s major weakness…… or was that R.O.T.O.R.? I get them confused.

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  6. ruth says:

    Nice one James! I think killing Elektra is pretty dark though she had it coming. I’d say the finale of Licence to Kill is quite dark as well, the way Bond said to Sanchez ‘Don’t you want to know why?’ is quite chilling… then all hell broke loose!

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