Basically, it's a leaner, stripped down movie which is almost gimmick free. What struck me about the new Bond, Daniel Craig, known more for dramas in Britain, is how different he looked from the other Bonds. It wasn't that he was blond or had blue eyes, but that he looked like a man far more comfortable in a knit cap and anorak waiting to blow a bridge with an SBS team than swanning around a casino.
There was a LOT of controversy when he got the role after Clive Owen turned it down. Owen is a classic Bond type, tall, dark, ruggedly hand
some. Craig meets the last one. But for the rest, he looks like the kind of man who reads professional trouble.
What came to mind was that this Bond, who in the novels was a naval officer, was a very different sort of fish. He was a hard man who looked every inch the part.
But that led to a larger point. In our fantasy idea of what spies are, Bond, with the fast cars and beautiful women come to mind. In reality, it is lonely men in small rooms getting other people to betray everything they stand for.
Ian Flemming created Bond as a composite of the SOE agents he knew during the war. The kind of men who solved problems violently. But of course, real spies rarely kill each other. They are more likely to chat and have a beer in a pub than fight to the death in a washroom.
Most people, the vast majority of men who have been spies, have been hard men blowing things up. From World War II on, it has been the secret airman and commando who has done most of America's spying. While some played the great game in Europe, most were running guns in Tibet or flying planes in the Congo. They weren't sitting in casinos betting government money and banging starlet pretty rich women.
The kind of man America has needed to be a spy is probably happier in a tent in the woods than a five star hotel.
The American spy isn't breaking up secret organizations and superweapons, but working in guerrilla wars with a rifle and a pot of beans.
But the West likes the image of the restrained savage, the educated hard man who can tell vintage champagne and kill at close range. The real spy, the hard man with the rifle and speaking Pashtu is not the image they have in mind.