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"How does one train at Oxford, and the Sorbonne..."
The film is awkwardly packaged. The plane chase is a nonsense action sequence, it's good fun but it makes no logical sense. Meanwhile, the Morrocan portion is melancholic and soulful. They're almost scenes from two different movies.....
The hotel is a perfect combination of beautiful cinematography, fantastic scoring and great acting. Mendes should have stuck to this template.
Different approaches, and I have to cut Newman some slack.
Getting back slightly on topic, I rewatched CR for the millionth time last week and I love watching it with the perspective of how their paths will cross over the next films.
I completely agree with both of your posts.
The relationship he and Bond had was interesting. It started naturally from a place of anger on Bond's side for White's involvement with stringing Vesper along, which he pays for with a bullet to the leg. I love that the last time Bond sees White he's hurting and tied to an I.V., which is exactly how White appears when they reunite all those years later in SP. In some ways, nothing has changed, while in others, everything has.
It's great to have a scene with Bond and White post-Vesper and Quantum that really pulls on their past history to really make the moment momentous feeling as it unfolds. It's great poetry to have Bond see in White a warning of what his life could turn into if he stays the course he's traveled. I don't think Bond would have ever believed at the end of CR that the man crawling helplessly on the ground at his feet would be the same man he'd learn one of his greatest lessons from years later.
People that expected or wanted Bond to kill White in that scene don't get it, I'm afraid. It's a moment of humanity and understanding between two killers who get who each other are, and despite their troubled past with one another, each needs the other for something they see as valuable. Bond needs Blofeld on a platter, and White needs his daughter secure. The deal is made, and before the ink dries, White shows himself mercy.
It's a blink-and-you-miss-it moment later on in the film, but I love that Bond finds Vesper's interrogation tape in White's hidden room, and how Bond chooses to let it go, despite the obvious temptation to linger on its contents. The reason White's characterization in the film and this little detail of the tape creates ripples is because SP doesn't treat him like a sudden and noble hero, fully redeemed. For all the bravery he had to stand up to Blofeld and turn his back on SPECTRE for the vile acts they were perpetrating, inviting certain death, White still has Vesper's blood on his hands, and it'll never-can't ever-wash off in Bond's eyes. When he finds the tape, he's reminded of the evil that also existed inside White, even for all the good he tried to do at the end of his life-too late, one could rightly argue.
I find White's use in SP to be quite masterful and deep, and I love how they treated him like a real man with complexities and didn't try to sell him to audiences as a good man who had earned penance. Mendes and co. gave White a gray morality, true to reality. We're not good or bad people generally; we have our good and bad wrestling inside us, and because of this approach, White is a very human character. I nearly get choked up seeing Madeleine look at the photos White kept of her as a kid when his room in the hotel is unearthed. Along with Bond we're uncovering the kind of person White was behind the veil of viciousness he needed to put on to guard himself and do his job with efficiency, as Bond himself does-which may be one of the biggest reasons why he's so understanding of White as he is when he finds him. When that armor is ripped from White and his private life is shown to us, we finally discover just as Bond does who else White was underneath it all: a loving father, a man of principle and a romantic in the finest sense, who tried to keep his family together when all signs told him it was impossible.
It's one of the greatest tragedies in the Bond series that such a man with such good intentions and a truly caring heart was so eroded by his work and destroyed by a man who was like a brother to him, and that he ended up losing everything that had any meaning to him and all that he loved, including his wife and daughter. For all White was and all the bad he tried to make good on in his last days to repent on his sins, his death was cruel, lonesome and unredeemed and the last image we get of him is that of his head blown back in a look of raving agony, with ravens pecking out his eyes.
@Tuck91 I think Blofeld playing Vesper's interrogation to taunt Bond would be meaningless to Madeleine, which counteracts Blofeld's goal to torment the both of them. The two characters have a direct connection to Mr. White, so it made sense for Blofeld to play the footage from that particular moment rather than to play Vesper's tape, someone who Madeleine knows virtually nothing about.
I've heard fans suggest that the "Algerian love knot" should have taken the tape's place, but how exactly would White get ahold of it, and for what purpose? Unless he was willing travel around Kazan, Russia with his metal detector through the snow.
Yusef has given Corrine a love knot when we find him in Kazan at the end of QoS, and Bond outs him by saying he gave the same necklace to a friend of his.
I respectfully disagree. We had an entire film+ about Bond coming to terms with Vesper's death, so to get furious in SP would have felt like an unnecessary retread. Craig lingers on the Vesper tape just long enough before casting it aside, the memory of a love lost.
"Anyway, I don't stop to think about it."
@FoxRox, absolutely. Mr. White's return was the biggest item on my Bond 24 wishlist, and when I heard his voice in the reveal trailer, I screamed so loud my housemates came to ask what was the matter. I couldn't have asked for much more.
Eh I was so-so about it. Silva seemed like a guy with his own, individual plans to me though, but it could be as simple as Spectre helped bankroll him, and since he and them had the common interest of getting after M, he joined with them. I like to think Quantum and Silva are still quite separate in a way. Spectre being behind Quantum clicked with me 100% anyway.