Spectre - The symbolic use of eyes and blinding in the film

Just something I was thinking about last night. Eyes and blinding are used as a reoccurring motif throughout the film. It's clearly a reference to being watched (something of a given with the espionage genre) and constantly being observed from afar (which ties in with the film's themes of surveillance).

-In the opening titles we see plenty of eyes as Bond walks amongst them. A pretty literal interpretation depicted in a surrealistic fashion.
-Hinx's signature move is blinding people. He is introduced in a scene where he pushes someone's eyeballs out. -The international surveillance programme is called Nine Eyes.
-Oberhauser has been watching Bond his whole life and is even described as a "voyeur".
-Oberhauser gives a big speech on the eyes and the connection they have to the soul.
-He also refers to Bond as the "blue eyed orphan" (he really seems to resent Bond for his seeming perfection). Hence why he plans to drill his eyeballs out.
-This results in Oberhauser getting the classic Blofeld scar and becoming blind in one eye.
Just a little food for thought. Mendes is a very clever guy and a motif never go over his head. I feel this was a very deliberate device.


  • edited November 2015 Posts: 4
    Nice post, this is another interesting food for thought.

    Remember also the scene in Blofeld's lair where Bond ask the eye contact of Madeleine for avoiding the view of her father's death, easily one of the most intense scene between the two characters (and imo of the movie), so likely tied with your mentioned motif.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited November 2015 Posts: 23,883
    Good points. Reminds me of the old Rockwell song "I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me"

    I also think there is a 'cat' and 'mouse' thing going on through the film as well.

    Mickey Mouse - uttered by Bond at Blofeld meet
    Real mouse - at L'Americain - gives Bond the clue to find Blofeld
    Cat - Blofeld's signature pet
    C & M - cat and mouse
    Cuckoo - cat chasing bird?
  • edited November 2015 Posts: 4
    Bond associated to the mouse want be seen surely as a contrast with Blofeld character associated with the cat: their relation resembling the game of cat and mouse, even if actually Blofeld is toying with Bond's life and if someone is James to give indirect/direct hunt to him during the cycle of movies.

    Also this is a nice recalling to Skyfall, where Silva (and later James) use the metaphor of the rats for talking about their status of secret agents. I think that could be not a coincidence that at l'Americaine Bond jokes with the mouse treating it as an "enemy spy".
  • Makes you think back to CR in context. Both Le Chiffre and Gettler have a damaged eye. Did they cross paths with Mr. Hinx? :)
  • WalecsWalecs On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    Posts: 3,157
    Also, a nod to Skyfall's "Last rat standing"
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    edited November 2015 Posts: 5,584
    Nice observations, you've got a golden eye.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Top Catastrophe
    Posts: 42,547
    I was thinking of this as well. Eyes everywhere.

    You also have the nods to For Your Eyes Only and You Only Live Tweyes.
  • Posts: 1,296
    One thing is for sure Bond has all eyes on him and his lady as he speed down the old roads of London with Swan in tow and a smile

    There are the Nine Eyes organization which I thought was called Lionize until no it was Nine Eyes. Which only further investigates your hypthoseis. Also , there were kaleyedascope eyes in the TS so that pushes it even further. It will all add up in the next one I am sure. See you then.
  • OmegaXOmegaX Singapore
    Posts: 39
    A very interesting and captivating analysis! :) Thats really some food for thought, i agree with the eyes theme as well as the cat and mouse one, but i also feel that the "dead are alive" could be a subtheme too, which i mentioned in a discussion i created.
  • I don’t think the film is as thematically burdened as SF. There was a lot more going on SF than the mere surface pleasures you’d expect from an action thriller. It was a film about mothers & sons, resurrection, mid-life fatigue, and the “old vs. new”.

    In comparison, SF is a little empty-headed. There are themes and motifs throughout the film but none are really fleshed out too thoroughly. It’s one of the reasons many (including myself) found the film to be so frustrating.

    I’m not quite sure I see the cat/mouse analogy. I think the ‘Mickey Mouse’ line was a deliberately ironic decision by Mendes as he has one of the most iconic characters of all time (James bond) referring to himself as an equally iconic character.

    In terms of Spectre, here are some of the themes and ideas the film (sorta) explores:

    - Nostalgia and Modernity: This is the big idea at the centre of the film. Mixing the classic Bond formula with contemporary issues.
    - ‘The Dead are Alive’: Ghosts of the past coming back to haunt you.
    - Surveillance: Someone is always watching. Beyond the ‘eyes’ motif there is a lot of Snowden-esque talk (SP is a tad more political than most Bond films).
    - The life of an assassin: Can you keep killing people forever? Is it possible to fall in love again and move on.
  • Posts: 1,680
    The life of an assasin. Madeline sees her father in Bond.
  • Posts: 1,296
    And her father never loved her the way she thinks Bond loves her but she soon it will all crash apart.....
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Top Catastrophe
    Posts: 42,547
    Noticed on my second viewing that when Mr Hinx enters Mr White s cabin, one of the birds is eating out of his eye socket.
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy My Secret Lair
    Posts: 13,384
    I must keep an eye out for that next time. :)
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited December 2015 Posts: 23,883
    Yes, I noticed the bird going at his eye on all three watches in the theatre, but did not make the connection to this eye theme thing at the time. Good catch.

    Mendes is way too smart for me.
  • Tuck91 wrote: »
    The life of an assasin. Madeline sees her father in Bond.

    I also believe that Bond sees himself in White.

    White has been a killer his entire life; always on the run and being hunted. Finally, with his own organisation chasing him down and his family long gone; he is alone. When Bond confronts White, he pities him. When they previously met, White was a supreme leader in an international terrorist group. Now he’s a pale imitation of the man he once was. Bond sees a potential future for himself in White. A lonely assassin who believes that he had no choices in his life, therefore destined to die alone and be forgotten.

    The whole idea of being an “assassin” is really discussed a lot throughout the film. (Bond is rarely referred to as a spy.)

  • Posts: 310
    Nice thought. Didn't think of that about White.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 I've missed you all.
    edited February 2016 Posts: 28,417
    Great stuff here, folks.

    The occupation of "assassin" in SP is presented largely as a death of the self far more than it is the death of others (your targets). You relieve them of life's burdens quickly, while you live on with the baggage of the world and your own demons. I find that quite interesting.

    Has anyone found any significance in Hinx's name? I've tried to find some thematic connections between him and what he may represent beyond his actions in the film, but I haven't found anything. No particular meanings of "Hinx" or what he could be influenced by. Anyone have luck on this?
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Top Catastrophe
    Posts: 42,547
    Reminiscent of SPHINX, which is often used of a person or entity of mysterious nature, of course.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Top Catastrophe
    Posts: 42,547
    There is also the character of See
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 15,081
    There is also the character of See

    I C wot u did there.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Top Catastrophe
    Posts: 42,547
    To take care of your eyes, get plenty of see vitamins.
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