Tag Archives: Naomie Harris

Spectre

Director: Sam Mendes; Main Cast: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa SeydouxRalph FiennesBen WhishawNaomie HarrisDave BautistaAndrew Scott;

spectre

Sam Mendes as director, Christoph Waltz as main villain, Daniel Craig finally owing the role as 007, after good performances in Skyfall and Casino Royal, at least one age-appropriate Bond-girl (Bellucci)… this film had all the ingredients for being a worthy new chapter in the suave spy’s history. Alas, it doesn’t deliver on all its promises. To begin at the beginning: the title sequence with Sam Smith’s song is neither remarkable nor particularly memorable, so no, not a good start (it was difficult to top Skyfall, I know). Our hero is on a mission from M (the deceased one, not the current one) but he doesn’t really know what he’s chasing or looking for. The not-so-greving widow (the above mentioned Bellucci) of the man Bond most recently killed points him to a secret meeting of a secret organisation… and I was waiting for someone to say “Hail Hydra!”… I’m too jaded I guess for a serious take on an all powerful, worldwide criminal syndicate. It did work well in the sixties when the franchise started but now, after so many homages and parodies (I’m looking at you Austin Powers!), I think it lost its aura of menace and uncomprehending evil. Blofeld is not truly convincing as psychopathic megalomaniac, Waltz’s valid efforts notwithstanding, and makes the whole story a little flat. While our globetrotting spy is involved in all the classic Bond-action scenes — foot and car chases in cities,  beating up henchmen, saving the damsel in distress and gathering intelligence — on the home front M (Fiennes), Q (Benshaw) and Moneypenny (Harris) are fighting the ugly face of progress, personified by C (Scott), who wants to bring the British intelligence into the 21st century. Of course, we know from the get go that there’s more to it and it helps bringing the plot full circle in the third act of the film but…really! Demonising the digitalisation process it’s a bit old… Sarah Connor told us decades ago. Anyway, I’ve been very negative so far, so here’s the good part: the  cinematography is spectacular, the action is quite breathtaking and the cat-and-mouse chase during the Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City is amazing. All actors give solid performances and the story moves along smoothly, Mendes, after all, knows his job. Maybe my expectations were too high and I felt let down, only time will tell. Spectre wants to be sinister and serious but lacks the more raw and grim elements of Skyfall to be as good as the latter. Unsatisfactory –5.5/10

 

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Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Director: Justin Chadwick; Main Cast: Idris ElbaNaomie HarrisTony Kgoroge, Riaad MoosaJamie Bartlett

Nelson Mandela’s story: from his early days as brilliant lawyer defending black people to joining the ACN and the non-violent protests against the apartheid. He then moves to more extreme forms of fight like bombing public facilities and he is arrested and convicted to a life sentence. We see Mandela and his fellow leaders of ACN growing old in prison while the unrest in the country turns into open revolt, mainly lead by his second wife Winnie. It is quite interesting seeing both his private and public life, how they intertwine and evolve, and his relationship with Winnie, in a manner, quite crucial for the end of the apartheid in South Africa as well. The film ends with SouthAfrica’s difficult transition to a proper democracy and the election of Mandela as president. Idris Elba does a wonderful job as Mandela, the right mix of charisma, energy and compassion, but not devoid of flaws, making him very human. Naomie Harris shows her acting chops and is quite convincing as Winnie Mandela. All in all it is not only interesting but also a compelling film. I particularly enjoyed the lighting and the colours of the photography, accurately depicting the different moments in history. Moving and uplifting. —8/10

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