The second trailer for SPECTRE launched yesterday morning and it cleverly gives us more of a sense of the dynamic of the screenplay without telling us much about the unfolding of the story.
It begins with Bond being reprimanded by M for unauthorised activity in Mexico City during the Day of the Dead celebrations. It is believed that this scene in Mexico City will mark the time honoured prologue for the movie. Not only is this significant to the movie but it is also significant to this trailer. (Continues after picture)
Corresponding to Halloween, the Day of the Dead procession in Mexico City is a time when people not only wear masks and hide their identity; but also look to those from the past and face up to their own future in the grave.
In many religious traditions, especially the Christian one, as the year – in the northern hemisphere – darkens and the world enters into a season of winter and lifelessness, many recall those who have passed from this life. Not only it is a time to mourn the past and the people who once accompanied us, but also be reminded of one’s own mortality.
This is an excellent motif for the past three movies – Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall – as well as SPECTRE, because this is exactly where the character of James Bond finds himself. (Continues after picture)
He has stopped Le Chiffre but loved and lost Vesper Lynd. He has found closure in eliminating Dominic Greene. He has pursued De Silva and mourned the death of his old mentor (played by Judi Dench). In addition, he has witnessed the destruction of his ancestral home and refuge, Skyfall. Now it appears he is a lost soul, without foundation nor future.
Indeed, this scene of loss is also extended to the whole of the Secret Service, having suffered a devastating blow at the modern HQ building at Vauxhall Bridge and the new M (played by Ralph Fiennes) facing mounting pressure from within the corridors of power, possibly personified in the character of Denbigh (played by Andrew Scott). Note too, Bond peering at the Memorial to names of agents who died in the service of their country; very likely within the wreckage of the old building destroyed by De Silva. (Continues after pictures)
We do not know what the catalyst that drew Bond to Mexico City was, but it seems motivated by a personal need for answers and possibly vendetta. We have to recognise all three movies, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall, as being interlinked, as if they are different movements of a symphonic piece. In the movie SPECTRE, the themes of loss, anger, revenge and the search for answers, reach their crescendo for Bond, almost as if it is the final movement of an orchestral piece.
This is a decidedly different tone from previous movies. Now the lens is focused on the man, not on his mission. As the previous trailer alluded, the future is tied up with Bond’s own past, notably his relationship with his guardian, Hans Oberhauser, and his son Franz. (Continues after picture)
We discover that Franz Oberhauser (Christophe Waltz) is the author of Bond’s pain, manipulating and steering him, but why, beyond possible vendetta, we cannot be sure. However, considering that all of Bond’s supports, loves and roots have been taken from him, it seems as if he is being manipulated to make a choice, perhaps a choice to turn to the place where there is no mercy; to turn to the dark side.
Monica Bellucci’s character warns Bond about going to a place where there is no mercy. After which we see him attend a sinister conclave in an ornate palazzo, very likely in Rome. At this meeting, we witness the barbaric execution of one operative at the table, and the hands, of Mr Hinx. There, Bond’s presence is detected, he is recognised directly by Oberhauser, leading to a narrow escape and car chase around the Borgo area of Rome, near the River Tiber. (Continues after pictures)
Indeed, juxtaposing the night shot of St Peter’s Basilica, with the somber and silent SPECTRE meeting, seems to indicate that Bond has entered into the centre of this criminal network. The reverential formality greeting Oberhauser there almost takes on a parallel ceremonial that we would see in Vatican City or Mexico City. It is as if, symbolically, Bond has plunged into the depths of the conflict of good and evil right in the heart of this ancient metropolis. As Bond began with the Day of Dead in Mexico City, perhaps too he was facing death and evil in the Eternal City that is Rome. (Continues after picture)
As he admits himself in the trailer, he holds the keys to understanding both the trials they face, but also perhaps the catalyst for the actions of his protagonist, Franz Oberhauser.
In this sense we have a very textured psychological battle. Has Oberhauser been attempting to undermine the whole edifice of international stability to turn Bond?
Remember during his brief interrogation, Mr White’s admission that if Vesper had survived Venice, they would have had him too?
It would appear so. M, Q and the rest of the Secret Service appear under increasing pressure. In a very brief moment we see M fighting with Andrew Scott’s character, Denbigh. In another moment we see Q (Ben Whitshaw) fight off a computer breach. (Continues after pictures)
In this regard, Bond must descend into his past and find his old nemesis, Mr White.
We find Mr White, living in squalor, surrounded by TV monitors, seemingly monitoring international affairs. He appears haggard and in hiding, holding secrets. Bond intuits that White is protecting someone. We see a young woman, Dr Madeleine Swann (played by Lea Seydoux), being escorted by Mr Hinx and others and, for a brief moment, we hear a tune from John Barry’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which incidentally was also set within the Alps and within a medical facility. (Continues after pictures)
Who is she? A relation or colleague of Mr White or of Oberhauser? In any event she finally reveals the name of the organisation that ultimately Bond must face. In a confrontation, that will end the movie, Bond will be brought to his knees with the author of his pain and that will, at least, close this chapter of the drama.