It’s all about the girl.

Posted: December 15, 2015 in Film reviews, James Bond
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This isn’t so much a film review as a theory relating to Spectre, and more specifically the motivations of the main villain. Whether or not you’re read my actual review of Spectre I would urge you not to read on unless you’ve seen the film because, unlike with my reviews which I try to make as spoiler free as I can, this particular posting will be full of spoilers.

Seriously don’t read on if you haven’t seen the film!

Ok, if you’re still here I can assume you’ve either seen the 24th official James Bond film or you just don’t care.

I’ve seen Spectre three times now and frankly I seem to enjoy it a little more each time. Don’t get me wrong I liked it the first time just fine, but I found the villain’s motivations a trifle lame. As quite a few people have said, the fact that Blofeld’s motivation for wanting to kill Bond come down to daddy issues is somewhat poor, especially given that Skyfall gave us a villain with mommy issues.

But what has become increasingly apparent to me is that Blofeld doesn’t really give a damn about 007, other than insofar as Bond is meddling with his plans. By the end of the film I think things have shifted slightly, which I guess has a lot to do with Bond’s exploding Omega halving his eye quotient and providing old Ernst Stavro with a fetching facial scar, but at least initially I’d argue it isn’t about Bond at all.

Oh no, it’s about Madeline Swann.

Think about it. Mr Hinx and his goons travel to Austria and kidnap Madeline from under Bond’s nose. Why? If they’re worried about what she might tell Bond (and as we know she doesn’t know a great deal) why not just take out 007, or why not simply kill her? Yes there are a couple of henchmen who are shadowing Q, but no one seems to be concentrating on Bond which seems a trifle odd.

Fast forward to the train journey where Mr Hinx turns up again and attacks Bond and Madeline whilst they’re at dinner. Now this doesn’t make a whole heap of sense given that Blofeld seems quite keen on Bond and Madeline making it to his secret lair. Unless of course the aim of this attack isn’t to kill both of them, oh no, rather it’s to take Bond out of the picture, leaving Mr Hinx to deliver Madeline to Blofeld.

Now of course Bond, with more than a little help from Madeline, takes care of Mr Hinx and both of them make it to Blofeld’s lair, and what’s one of the first things Blofeld does? Oh sure there’s some verbal sparring with James, but he seems more interested in torturing Madeline with video footage of her father’s death.

Which brings us to Bond strapped to a chair whilst Blofeld tortures him, except…is Blofeld really that interested in hurting Bond, or is hurting Bond just a means to an end? Just look how much agony Madeline is in watching Bond get hurt (and Léa Seydoux sells it wonderfully). And what does Blofeld plan to do? He’s very specific; he wants to destroy the portion of Bond’s brain that enables him to recognise faces, so he won’t recognise her. But as Blofeld says, aren’t all those women interchangeable anyway? Irrespective of what Bond does/doesn’t feel for Madeline, Blofeld at least seems convinced that she’s in love with him. So ask yourself, who will be hurt more by Blofeld’s designated torture, the man who won’t recognise the woman he loves, or the woman who’ll have to look the man she loves in the eye and know he doesn’t have a clue who she is? I’d argue the latter.

But why does Blofeld have such a desire to hurt Madeline? Well I think this is pretty obvious once you link two separate conversations together.

Firstly when they’re on the train Madeline explains why she doesn’t like guns. When she was a child a man came to their house to kill her father, little realising that she was upstairs, or that there was a gun hidden under the sink.

Skip forward ten or fifteen minutes and note the conversation between Blofeld and Madeline.

Blofeld: I first met you when you were a child. I came to your house to see your father.
Madeline: I don’t remember that.
Blofeld: I do

And if you needed more proof just look at the expression on each character’s face during this exchange. So, it seems quite likely that, when she was a child, Madeline shot and wounded Blofeld and he’s held a grudge ever since.

But…but…but! You exasperate, clearly Blofeld had daddy issues and fake brother issues with Bond, and…and…

Well yes, but it seems pretty clear he got past them. He felt his father betrayed him so he killed him. As for 007, well let’s be honest here. Bond hasn’t been in hiding, he’s been in plain sight for years, so if Blofeld has such a hard on about killing him it begs the question, why has he never tried to have him eliminated? The simple answer is that he simply isn’t that bothered until Bond contrives to put himself in Blofeld’s sights. Madeline Swann on the other hand has been in hiding, until Bond conveniently leads Hinx and co right to her door (nice one, James.)

Now this is pure conjecture on my part, so whilst this may have been the writers’ intention, it’s just as possible that I’m twisting the facts to fit my own theory. All I know is that having this idea in mind actually makes Blofeld a better character than if he’s just still dealing with the fact that his daddy wuved little Jamie-Wamie more than him.

  1. As someone who has problems recognising faces – diagnosed with mild prosopagnosia some years ago now (“functional but impaired”) – they still don’t know exactly how that part of the brain works. Though Blofeld is right in one way; people who acquire prosop through a brain injury tend to have it worse than people born with it.

    And you learn to recognise people in other ways. Gait, hair, voice, etc.

  2. […] aside the logic of a villain with Daddy issues just one film after we had Silva with Mommy issues (but more here on Blofeld’s motivations) the issue of them having history and effectively being brothers is not only ludicrous, but it […]

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