TWINE: Did Brosnan offer a definitive characterisation of 007?

edited December 2012 in Bond Movies Posts: 3,503
You may recall a while ago I wrote a retrospective of DAD in light of its 10th anniversary. You can find it here:
http://www.mi6community.com/index.php?p=/discussion/4688/another-anniversary-were-forgetting-has-the-time-come-to-finally-celebrate-dad/p4#Item_117

Having watched the film again, I became more curious about exploring Pierce Brosnan’s other outings as 007. So I recently re-watched the TWINE and was very impressed with what I saw overall. The one overwhelming factor I noticed when watching the film was quite how good Pierce was in the movie. It all made me begin to wonder whether Brosnan in fact offered the most definitive version of the character in that film.

Firstly, the actual movie itself is deeply underrated and I for one am shocked that we live on a planet where the below-par DAD is considered superior to TWINE. I mean, really? Surely now in a post-reboot/Daniel Craig-era we can finally appreciate TWINE as the forgotten and disregarded gem of the franchise.

The opening of the movie is tremendous, the scene in the Swiss bank is Bondian-to-the-max, but in particular Brosnan really displays a dark tinge to the character in those early moments. The way he coldly executes the men followed by that close-up snarl before grabbing the Banker by the scruff of the neck and forcing him to count to three at gunpoint. It’s a dark scene, plagued with black humour and works well because Pierce plays it’s so straight. But it’s here we get the first revelation towards a more gritty realistic take on the character. He’s a spy and he kills people, it’s all very glamorous but also extremely dangerous. The boat chase is a perfect end to a fantastic pre-title sequence (I think the best), there’s just something about seeing those boats race across the Thames. What is most exhilarating is the fact that we can actually see that it is Pierce in the boat, it really gives a heightened sense of danger and excitement to see our leading man actually taking part in the action. The Thames chase is really the statement piece of the movie and it works well in really establishing a “And We’re Back” feeling to the Bond world. It’s high-class, sexy and audacious, everything Bond should be.
Garbage’s title song is also on-point, but let down by Kleinman’s titles which just seem to slowly descend into a techno-coloured mess. His lowest point I dare say. So does TWINE live up to the promise it generates in its opening gambit? In short, yes.

Why? Well, that’s easy to answer: the central dynamic between Bond and Elektra is really what makes this film tick. Brosnan maintains the darker grittier approach he displayed in the title sequence throughout the movie, but he marries it with his suave sophisticated persona that he has become so associated with. When I see him seduce the Doctor (wearing some rather lovely underwear) I really believe that she wants to sleep with him, Brosnan literally oozes with charisma and has always handled this aspect of Bond’s character with ease. It is in the TWINE that he really brings the danger back to Bond having already demonstrated how well he can handle the lighter moments. It is then the Elektra relationship that really gives him the chance to shine and build upon the character.

While TWINE is a Bond film with all the trimmings, it is after all front-loaded with a large amount of absurd gadgets, girls, cars and exotic locales; but overall it feels less a servant to these elements than previous instalments. The film while offering the trappings of a Bond film and adhering to the formula is able to elevate above it somehow through exploring the central relationship with Bond the girl, this a Bond movie 'and some'. What Michael Apted has done is essentially make a more character-driven film which really lets Brosnan and Sophie Marceau fill the screen with a resounding amount of pathos. It’s their odd macabre relationship that keeps you hooked, the pair’s fling never feels forced and instead we are greeted with this delightfully interplay between the two which creates this rather twisted and interesting relationship. It’s made even more satisfying that Elektra is later revealed as the film’s villain, which boils down to that fantastic torture scene finale (one of the best scenes in any Bond film in my opinion). The twist is a really underrated moment in the film, which has been made more prevalent thanks to The Dark Knight Rises essentially ripping it off (Bane and Talia a poor man’s Renard and Elektra). Brosnan is at his best when he’s going toe-to-toe with Marceau, and the best scenes in the film feature the pair of them.

There is also a great vulnerability on show in Pierce’s Bond here. We see him really get hurt and take a beating. Often praise is lauded on Craig’s portrayal on drawing on this aspect, but Brosnan did it first and just as well. We know Bond is in a bad way because of his shoulder but Apted also opens him up psychologically by allowing Elektra to explore 007’s persona that little bit more than we are used to. Elektra break him down in such a way that no other woman before has, not even Tracy and she exploits him. Does Bond love her? I think so, and Elektra plays on this, almost taunting him for being so foolish.

The second act of the film doesn’t let off either , here Bond actually does some spying (something Roger Moore forgot to do) and the Kazakhstan segment of the film really cements the darker grittier Bond that Brosnan and Apted have carved. His first meeting with Renard is brooding and intense, I love the line “Cold-blooded murder is a filthy business” all while screwing on a silencer. Brosnan does, on occasion, have a tendency to slip slightly into the hammy, his reaction to Renard’s “No point in living...” is overacting at its best. So Brosnan’s acting can be slightly ‘loud’ at times, but if anything Pierce works better in those quieter moments when he doesn’t have to really make a case that he is ‘acting’ (think back to that great moment in the jacket bubble where Electra is having a panic attach or the final moment where he is holding her at gunpoint – quieter and more intense moments where he really shines).

Marceauis really stunning, she is truly the most beautiful Bond girl there has ever been. She is seamless at portraying both sides of Electra’s character and its undeniable that her role is the best part written for a woman in a Bond film to date. Everything to her hair, to jewellery to costume design is impeccable and all add to creating this wonderful exotic beauty who is very easy to fall in love with. Robert Carylise is also great, and the central premise of his character is pure Bond villainy at its best – a baddie who feels no pain- excellent. It’s a neat touch how he still holds mi6 responsible for his soon-to-be death, opposed to the bullet-in-the-brain merely being a jumping off point in carving a villainous characture. A lot has been said about Denise Richards, so I may loose credibility when I say that I’m really not that fussed about her. It’s not that Christmas really adds to the film, but she hardly detracts from it either. I think she works and is perfectly serviceable to the story.

The action is slightly excessive at points, and occasionally does feel rather staged. However, Brosnan is very good at it at and seeing him in action really adds to the excitement of the piece. Furthermore, the film is headed and tailed by two fine actions sequences, the submarine finale for me is up with some of the best, its vertigo-inducing at the same time as being pulse-pounding when delivering thrills. You can feel Apted’s documentarian soul coming across in the execution of the story, and the way it subtly deals with the politics of the oil world. Furthermore the photography of the movie is stunning, Adrian Biddle gives the film a really rustic lived-in feel, furthermore the sets are great with Elektra’s bedroom being a particularly stand-out. The only thing I really didn’t like where the last 2 minutes, M is apparently safe and sound in Scotland and Bond is having ‘Christmas in Turkey’ – talk about resorting to formula. It’s almost a default /screensaver ending and undoes a lot of the good work the film has done up to that point.

So in sum up, TWINE delivers all the Bond thrills and spills you have come to expect but with an added dimension of character and pathos. The central relationship between Bond and Elektra is really makes this film work. The movie also harnesses a very complete and intriguing revelation into the character’s persona, as it is here 007 is vulnerable and human but still as charismatic and suave as ever. This is made even more interesting by the darker and tougher shade displayed by the character throughout the movie.

The TWINE really does feel like the watershed before the DC era, it just seems a shame the more fantastical DAD strayed away from this path. So did Brosnan offer a definitive characterisation of 007? Well it may be a slightly bold claim, but at least the film had the guts to not rely and fall back on the forumla so readily and was willing to show those shades of grey in the character. What do we think?
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Comments

  • To be fair, I'm really tired right now, so I didn't read all of that. All I have to say is that TWINE is Brosnan's best movie. Some actual characterization, in my Brosnan Bond movie?! Surely you jest!

    Renard could be better, but otherwise, a great one.
  • Posts: 774
    Definitely don't think it was a definitive characterisation of Bond, the relationship with Elektra really undermined Bond's relationship with women; making him the one being seduced and used and then vulnerable and emotional when he had to kill her.

    Apart from that it was Brosnan's best.
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    Well I'm not one of the TWINE haters around here and I do think its probably Pierces best performance in the role however to call it a 'definitive characterisation' is a rather over the top.

    I'm just about to go to bed so won't go into detail but CR and now particularly SF have raised the bar so far in terms of acting that I'm afraid pain face and 'knew all about my shoouulder' just don't cut it any more.

  • Posts: 612
    The plot of TWINE had so many problems you could say, "look! There's some plot around your holes!", but it was definitely Brosnan's best performance.
  • I still don't get why Elektra blew up the pipeline only to later decide to blow up Istanbul so the only choice was using her pipeline... which now is completely smashed!
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 15,979
    I love TWINE. Pierce rocked in it. I challenge anyone to singular combat who disagrees.
  • Posts: 612
    I still don't get why Elektra blew up the pipeline only to later decide to blow up Istanbul so the only choice was using her pipeline... which now is completely smashed!

    She blew it up to look innocent in front of M. She had time to rebuild it. If she had succeeded with getting away with looking innocent, then Bond wouldn't have been on her tail.

    My question is why did she capture M? They both believed Bond was dead, Elektra looked perfectly innocent! (I know Bond talked to M before hand, but that just complicates things more!)

    Also, Elektra was reluctant to have Bond keeping her safe. As soon as she agreed to take his security, why did he up and leave? WHY?
  • Posts: 774
    I still don't get why Elektra blew up the pipeline only to later decide to blow up Istanbul so the only choice was using her pipeline... which now is completely smashed!

    She blew it up to look innocent in front of M. She had time to rebuild it. If she had succeeded with getting away with looking innocent, then Bond wouldn't have been on her tail.

    My question is why did she capture M? They both believed Bond was dead, Elektra looked perfectly innocent! (I know Bond talked to M before hand, but that just complicates things more!)

    Also, Elektra was reluctant to have Bond keeping her safe. As soon as she agreed to take his security, why did he up and leave? WHY?

    That's what's great about the plot of TWINE. As soon as you solve one plot hole, another emerges.
  • I still don't get why Elektra blew up the pipeline only to later decide to blow up Istanbul so the only choice was using her pipeline... which now is completely smashed!

    She blew it up to look innocent in front of M. She had time to rebuild it. If she had succeeded with getting away with looking innocent, then Bond wouldn't have been on her tail.

    My question is why did she capture M? They both believed Bond was dead, Elektra looked perfectly innocent! (I know Bond talked to M before hand, but that just complicates things more!)

    Also, Elektra was reluctant to have Bond keeping her safe. As soon as she agreed to take his security, why did he up and leave? WHY?

    Yeah... if she wanted to look innocent in front of M, gunning down the entire room isn't the way to do it.

    But then again, she was completely insane, so there's that.
  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    edited December 2012 Posts: 3,967
    A definitive portrayal of 007? Not quite sure of that, I'd be leaning towards a no but you do make valid points as to why it could be considered one. I always thought TWINE is a damn good movie though.
  • Posts: 1,454
    CR and now particularly SF have raised the bar so far in terms of acting that I'm afraid pain face and 'knew all about my shoouulder' just don't cut it any more.

    Could not agree more. TWINE is pretty awful actually, and Brozza hams it up to the max thoughout, like a bad overacting TV soap actor. The longer Craig's tenure continues with quality films such as CR and SF, the more Brozza's 4 films look shoddier and embarassing.

    Moore's films, for all their faults, still managed to offer some class. Brozza's films are a nasty stain on the franchise.

  • Brosnan was at his most Bond-esque for TWINE, it's a simple as that for me

    Really did a very good job that year, and it's my favorite of the four and Brosnan's best release, which may upset some Goldeneye enthusiasts, but there's no sense in lying

    It has everything you ask for, if you take away Richards and some of that silly nonsense (It's getting redder) near the end. It has the best pre credits sequence of the entire franchise, and not only that, a very good theme intro from Garbage that came into play when Bond had finished zooming around the Thames in his Q boat and hanging on to balloons..
  • oo7oo7
    edited December 2012 Posts: 1,068
    Brosnan was at his most Bond-esque for TWINE, it's a simple as that for me

    Really did a very good job that year, and it's my favorite of the four and Brosnan's best release, which may upset some Goldeneye enthusiasts, but there's no sense in lying

    It has everything you ask for, if you take away Richards and some of that silly nonsense (It's getting redder) near the end. It has the best pre credits sequence of the entire franchise, and not only that, a very good theme intro from Garbage that came into play when Bond had finished zooming around the Thames in his Q boat and hanging on to balloons..

    <object width="420" height="315"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/TlTVSyDZzKk?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/TlTVSyDZzKk?version=3&hl=en_US"; type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="420" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>
    1.19 lamp thud is the jewel in the crown of what i recalled to be an intense fight but on revisit i was mistaken
  • edited December 2012 Posts: 1,454
    Brosnan was at his most Bond-esque for TWINE, it's a simple as that for me

    Really did a very good job that year, and it's my favorite of the four and Brosnan's best release, which may upset some Goldeneye enthusiasts, but there's no sense in lying

    It has everything you ask for, if you take away Richards and some of that silly nonsense (It's getting redder) near the end. It has the best pre credits sequence of the entire franchise, and not only that, a very good theme intro from Garbage that came into play when Bond had finished zooming around the Thames in his Q boat and hanging on to balloons..

    The PTS is probably the best thing about TWINE, but again it is ruined by that silly underwater tie straightening. Embarassing.
  • Craig did a similar thing in Skyfall I remember, although not underwater, but surely an acknowledgement to The World Is Not Enough ?

    I didn't mind the tie business underwater, but the biggest issue I had was Brosnan rolling off the top of the Millenium Building to a silly drum roll after the balloon explosion. They could of found some better sound effects for that bit ?

    But minor issues aside, still a very good overall release. Any movie with Robert Carlyle is worth a watch
  • Posts: 1,492
    The script gives Brosnan something to do which is rare in his era. Usually he ambles around smirking and dispensing oneliners, occasionally straightening his tie but it is no way a definitive portrayal the way Sean is in DN, Dan is in CR and Tim is in TLD.

    But it is not too painful to Brosnan. Its the flat Carlyle portrayal which is the problem in this one. And Christmas Jones.
  • Posts: 1,454
    Craig did a similar thing in Skyfall I remember, although not underwater, but surely an acknowledgement to The World Is Not Enough ?
    No, it was an acknowledgement to Connery in FRWL, like all these moments have been ever since, some better than others. Brozza just about got away with it in GE during the tank scene, but in TWINE it was one step too far.

  • I love GE and really like the first half of TND, but TWINE always felt like Bond by the numbers for me. Felt like it was going through the motions. Really liked Brosnan and Marceau, but no other major characters really stand out. The submarine ending was one of the lesser finales IMO.
  • edited December 2012 Posts: 11,169
    Brozza's performance in Twine is (for me) a mixed bag. He's very good in some scenes: the bankers office, the scenes with M in the castle, the early scenes with Electra and "I never miss" (a moment I genuinely believe he is james bond) but at other times quite bad.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 17,370
    chrisisall wrote:
    I love TWINE. Pierce rocked in it. I challenge anyone to singular combat who disagrees.

    Accepted, @chrisisall.

    Brosnan's performance in TWINE isn't his best IMO. There ara shining moments for sure, but sometimes he's trying too hard. His facial expression, when he challenges Tanner for why he wasn't handed a file, comes off as overacting for me. He tries to play things dead serious, yet he totally misses the 'cool' with which James Bond would demand an explanation without giving in to anger. His confrontation with Electra, during which he quotes Renard with that "there's no point in living..." line, is some of the worst acting I've ever seen him give. His every emphasis is just off the radar for me. It becomes annoying after a second. Then there are the pain faces. I hate to bring that point up again but the need for an actor to show humanity doesn't necessarily excuse OTT-ness. Again, when Bond is in agony, he's still Bond. There's a certain 'cool' I want out of him. See Craig's torture scenes for reference.

    I'm not a Brosnan basher, in fact I like the man, the actor and the Bond. BUT, I will not admit that TWINE is his finest hour as 007 for I hopelessly disagree. I think he does a lot better in TND and DAD, personally. I do, however, think that Brosnan was held back by the poor script of TWINE.
  • Posts: 11,169
    there's no point in living..." line, is some of the worst acting I've ever seen him give.

    I'll admit that scene is quite bad but I think I've seen him give worse.

    Taffin comes to mind.
  • Posts: 1,454
    I'd say TND was actually his strongest performance as Bond. GE he looked too puny and GQ model hairstyle, in TWINE he overacted waaaay too much, and in DAD he was starting to look too old for the part.

    TND was the definitive Brozza performance as Bond for me, the best of a very, very bad bunch.
  • Posts: 11,169
    I'd say TND was actually his strongest performance as Bond. GE he looked too puny and GQ model hairstyle, in TWINE he overacted waaaay too much, and in DAD he was starting to look too old for the part.

    TND was the definitive Brozza performance as Bond for me, the best of a very, very bad bunch.

    I will admit "puny" did come to mind at times when I last watched GE but I think he had some great moments in it (like TWINE actually).

    I like the bit when he's walking round the statue park along with his stern reactions when Alec delivers his speech.

    I also liked him in the PTS ("how original") and the train ("you first...you second...UPP!!)
  • I don't know as there is a "definitive" characterization of Bond, though I though Bronsan gave a good performances in the role.
  • Posts: 10,965
    Brozza gave the definitively awful Bond performance.
  • Getafix wrote:
    Brozza gave the definitively awful Bond performance.
    Ah, I just don't see that. I think Mr. Brosnan had the misfortune of being handed some bad scripts, but I think he did fine in the role.

    Indeed, I think the most damning thing one can say about Brosnan's Bond was that it his movies often seemed mediocre, by-the-numbers kinds of affairs. He doesn't seem to have made a movie that will be remembered by non-enthusiasts (a Goldfinger, The Spy Who Loved Me, or Casino Royale).

  • edited December 2012 Posts: 11,169
    Getafix wrote:
    Brozza gave the definitively awful Bond performance.

    According to HH it was his best (though he does acknowledge Brozz was bad in THAT scene).
    Getafix wrote:
    Brozza gave the definitively awful Bond performance.
    Ah, I just don't see that. I think Mr. Brosnan had the misfortune of being handed some bad scripts, but I think he did fine in the role.

    Indeed, I think the most damning thing one can say about Brosnan's Bond was that it his movies often seemed mediocre, by-the-numbers kinds of affairs. He doesn't seem to have made a movie that will be remembered by non-enthusiasts (a Goldfinger, The Spy Who Loved Me, or Casino Royale).

    Yes he did :D



    Might I say that while Spy is a great Bond film its undermimed by the attractive but poor actress Barbara Bach. Listen to the flat way she reads her lines. Its like the script was infront of her. Brosnan isn't the greatest of actors but he's far better than her.
  • edited December 2012 Posts: 10,965
    BAIN123 wrote:
    Getafix wrote:
    Brozza gave the definitively awful Bond performance.

    According to HH it was his best (though he does acknowledge Brozz was bad in THAT scene).

    What was his best?
  • Posts: 11,169
    i think he was better in TND and DAD personally (though, like GE, he had some good moments).
  • NicNacNicNac Moderator
    Posts: 6,913
    Didn't BB comment that Bond was supposed to think that Elektra was Tracey, but she turned out to be Blofeld, or some such comment?
    Well, I never got the feeling of that. Whether it's difficult to develop a love story within a 2 hour action movie I don't know, but if they intended that I believe they failed.

    As for Mr B's performance, clearly he had given it much thought and aimed for a dramatic, mannered performance which suggested a totally different character to the man we saw in GE and TND. All the hand waving and gesturing seemed a little odd, and it was gone again by DAD. He looked great of course (PB always did), but I preferred him in some of the scenes in GE and much of TND. I thought he was one of the better aspects of DAD. In TWINE he didn't work for me. Marceau, Dench and Coltraine gave the performances.
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