As I did with Skyfall, I wanted to offer a few story observations on Spectre. I hope to avoid spoilers, but in case I fail, consider yourself warned. Again we see sophisticated storytelling with a clear moral theme.
Skyfall was the end of a trilogy, the interaction between the Craig/Bond and Dench/M. Spectre clearly follows that trilogy, extending into a series. The central theme explored is loyalty, with a subordinate theme of intuition. The question asked (ala Save the Cat) was about whether Bond should trust his own intuition.
In the hero’s camp, Bond asks his compatriots to trust him, to extend loyalty to him. In so doing, they are asked to risk their lives, careers and reputations. What you learn is that he had already accepted the challenge: his drive in the movie derives from his loyalty in another such that he risks life, career and reputation—even his own happiness is held captive to his loyalty.
In the villain’s camp, the henchment exhibit subservience due to fear of the consequences. There is no trust. And, Bond works to convert that fear to trust in him. There’s a maturity of leadership not explored in the older Bond movies. In turn, the villain continues to try to erase the trust bonds between Bond and his allies.
Faith is somewhat related. The traditional definition is trust without proof. However, what we have here is proof offered and demonstrated in Bond’s every action.
Exploring intuition, the villain seeks access to all information—transparency. There’s no need to trust when you have full awareness. As you watch the movie, you’ll notice scenes that are either very bright, airy and clear, or dark and transparent. You’ll even see scenes transition from one state to another (transparent or opaque). The image of the logo includes a bullet shot through the letter C, piercing transparency.
While Bond is primarily following the Loyalty theme, M as his confident pursues the Intuition theme. Is it necessary to have full transparency to operate effectively in a chaotic world? Is it worth lifting the fog of war? Bond and M live in the shadows and need the fog. The villain wants to destroy the fog, and have more information. This inherent disagreement between the two camps reveals the villain’s henchmen.
Providentally, a friend of mine suggested I read Blink, subtitled “The Power of Thinking Without Thinking.” The thesis of this book is that experts have internalized their craft such that they can make decisions absent full situational awareness. To a certain extent, Spectre’s plot explores whether Malcolm Gladwell’s thesis is right.
The story complete, Bond is released from his quest and appears to chart a new course. This is a whiff of a new theme likely explored in the next.
What Spectre invites the viewer to consider is why are you following your leader? Is it because your leader inspires trust or fear? Do you need the full story to make a sound decision, or not? In both cases, I believe the story is clear.