If you asked me to name the half dozen filmmakers I would most love to see take a stab at directing a James Bond movie, I seriously doubt that I would have put Sam Mendes on the list. My first choice would probably be Quentin Tarantino, if only because I’ve long nurtured the fantasy that if QT were ever to set aside his highly specialized ’70s pulp fetishes and sign on to make, you know, a mainstream Hollywood movie, it could be a spectacular thing to see. There are other directors who would be obvious choices to helm a Bond extravaganza: Paul Greengrass, with his Bourne-again whipsaw extravagance, or Christopher Nolan, who with his two Batman movies proved that he’s exactly what a great Bond filmmaker (at least in my eyes) needs to be — a fantasist rooted in the real world. I’d also love to see what Kathryn Bigelow could do with an 007 installment. Beyond her pyrotechnical action chops, surely she would offer a novel angle on the ultimate big-screen ladies’ man.
Yet when I read that Mendes, the doomy poet of suburban distress (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road), was in talks to direct the 23rd Bond adventure, with a script co-written by the deviously clever Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Queen) and Daniel Craig once again cast as the fabled superspy, my gut instinct said: Inspired choice! Mendes may be far from my favorite filmmaker (is he anyone’s?), but he’s a director of sharp personality and stately visual dazzle (he’s also British, which means that he’s got those posh and dagger-sharp Bond manners wired into his DNA), and as he proved in Jarhead, he can bring off massively scaled feats of logistical action as well. What Mendes brings to the table is just what the Bond series needs right now: not wilder gadgets or more caffeinated editing or bold new ways to order a cocktail, but a laser-like fixation on the cool dark interiors of outwardly slick and seamless characters. READ FULL STORY