Ever since the inception of Bond in cinema, the franchise has played host to the ‘Bond Girl’. Or rather, the category of the ‘Bond Girl’ has played host to the voracious spy’s motives and extravagant escapades. In the age of modern Bond the category appears lacking and outdated.
Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale offered audiences a fully-formed, layered character who shared a believable arc with her male counterpart that did not become completely effaced by the end of the film’s running time.
‘Best Bond Girl’, however, undoubtedly has to be awarded to the most significant woman in Bond’s life, Judi Dench’s ‘M’. If it were not already significant enough that such a high-ranking role was filled by a woman, even by the most commanding of actresses, M is a figure who has called the shots, mentored Bond through his experiences, and formed the modern Bond we see now. (Laura Hancock)
What makes a compelling villain? Creepiness helps, yes, but it’s a little emotional complexity that really makes an unforgettable antagonist. In the Daniel Craig era we’ve hardly been left wanting for such sinister weirdos: Mathieu Amalric, Javier Bardem, and Christoph Waltz of the latest three Bond instalments together form a trinity of creepy villains.
Various traumas motivate the antagonists they portray, be it hell-bent career revenge, fear of missing out in exclusive crime rings, or an unhealthy love of money.
But it is Le Chiffre, Daniel Craig’s poker hustling nemesis in Casino Royale, who’s the most interesting nemesis of all.
‘Le Chiffre’ is indeed a name that roughly translates to ‘the cipher’, and Mads Mikkelsen delivers an aptly enigmatic performance as a disreputable fiend driven by fear as much as inherent evil. He strikes just the right balance of scary and vulnerable, all embodied within that milky left eye that weeps blood when he’s nervous. Nasty. (Alfie Packham)