The Dark Knight Rises, but that has a lot to do with all the fluff.

To be honest, I think it’s a victim of the success of the last instalment. But whichever way I look at it, it’s a poorer film than the last one. Not just thematically, but otherwise as well.

The Dark Knight, I thought, was a fantastic film. And while I admit that it would be very difficult for a sequel to live up to that, one would have expected Nolan to have done a better job.

As is often the case, the problem starts with the script. For starters, unlike the last time, when we were confronted with the question of how to deal with Evil that exists purely for the thrill of doing evil, and with no other ambition or motive, this time we are treated to an unconvincing Revenge Drama reminiscent of dhishoom dhishoom Bollywood.

As if this weren’t bad enough, clumsily woven into the narrative from the very beginning is this angst of the 99% against the 1%, starting with Hathaway spouting her equivalent of  the “main chor paida nahin hui milord, mujhe samaj ne chor banaya”  dialogue. That strand is picked up later, culminating in the liberté, égalité, fraternité bits, complete with the storming of the Bastille and Guillotine sentencings.

The characterisations are nothing to write home about either. The whole Bane thing was another throwback to the good ol’ Hindi flicks of the 70s and 80s, where villains like Shakaal, Mugambo, Kancha Cheena and Whatsisname terrorised the local population until they had their comeuppance. That scene in the stadium was reminiscent of Evil Thakur holding sway in Village Square, with Hirsute Henchmen terrorising Helpless Villagers with their Double-Barrelled Guns before spiriting away Voluptuous Village Belle on horseback. Please, Nolan. Been there, done that.

And while it is par for the course today for a movie to have that obligatory twist in the end, must Nolan have fallen prey to that clichéd and desperate attempt of filmmakers to extract some more oohs and aaahs from the audience?  And if it had to be done, it should at least have been done well. As it happens, I guessed the twist(s) fairly early on. Yes, all of them.

Even the action was not as great as it was the last time. Remember the moments leading up to the revelation of the Batpod in The Dark Knight? Nothing close to that here. There’s an extended sequence towards the end with the Batpod, the Bat, a Truck and some other armoured car type thingies that’s good, but not great.

So – not a great script, no great action, mostly pedestrian acting. All in all, a disappointing effort. Coming from a director whom I really admire, the only rationalisation I have is that Nolan is fatigued.

He is fatigued because a franchise kills your creativity. How do you excel in your craft when you are constrained by the specifics of the franchise, hemmed in by the constructs of the initial instalments, and yet under pressure to match not only your own previous works, but also the other I-am-a-Superhero-battling-my-own-demons-and-flirting-with-the-dark-side franchises that seem to be crawling out of the woodwork?

And that’s the problem with The Dark Knight Rises. It’s a product of fatigue. Nolan’s fatigue is evident, as is Bale’s. And when the director and the star both seem to be going through the motions, what more can one expect?

Prakash Jha is a director I like, and amongst all his films, my favourite is Mrityudand, not least for the many themes it so successfully tackled. His later films have tended to be narrower in scope. With Rajneeti, though, he’s taken a very large canvas, and you can see that he’s had trouble keeping all the elements in place. It’s a messy story to begin with, and Jha screws up with the addition of some needless complications. For instance, why is Manoj Bajpai sidelined by his father in the first place? Very unconvincing. As far as a modern-day remake of the Mahabharat goes, I would still rate Benegal’s Kalyug as better than this. Having said that, I am grateful to Jha for at least having the courage to make a somewhat intelligent film. Everytime a movie like Housefull or Wanted works, I feel we have hit rock-bottom, but along comes a movie like Rajneeti that lifts us a few precious inches above cinematic rock-bottom. I suppose we should count our blessings.

Enough has been written about Rajneeti being a sort of shabby cross between the Mahabharat and Godfather. It is. So I shall not touch upon that angle here. Instead, here are the top three reasons to watch Rajneeti:

1. Rajneeti is a ‘must watch’ film if only for the distinction of having the Most Awful Sex Scene Ever. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, ever. There’s an actress called Shruti Seth – she’s really funny, especially when she tries to be sexy – who tries to seduce Arjun Rampal’s character. The scene is hilarious. Even before Arjun touches her, Shruti’s breasts are heaving mightily and she’s biting her lower lip, and grimacing in a manner that she probably thinks is seductive. And then we have what can only be called a WhamMa’am (Arjun dispenses with the Thank You, and was there ever a Bam?), and the brief encounter is over. Shruti’s still heaving and trying to look scowlingly seductive. Hysterical. Well done, Jha.

2. Things get better when Katrina and Arjun consummate their marriage. (The lead-up to that is quite funny too.) Instead of the staple Indian euphemisms for sex (a bright fire, birds pecking, bees on a flower) we have the radically aesthetic shot of fingers clawing their way across the sheets. Hot stuff.

3. Oh yes, there is this scene where a car blows up, killing Arjun Rampal. As Katrina cradles his body in her arms, “Mora piya mohse bolat naahi’, sounding even more mournful than usual, starts blaring…quite loudly too. I remember muttering to myself “That’s ’cause he’s dead, biatch.” Yeah, I know. I am a callous bastard.

I really don’t know why Ranbir has been praised for his acting. What acting? He’s just had to keep one blank expression all through the movie. Katrina Kaif, on the other hand, had a role that required her to be more than Ikea- type furniture. Needless to say, she blew it. Arjun Rampal, surprisingly, was the revelation. For once, he managed to make the transition from Furnitureworld to the Land of the Facially Mobile. As for the woman who plays the Kunti-equivalent – I think her name is Nikhila Trikha –  she’s hilarious. In the tearful scene where she tells Ajay Devgan that she’s his mother, that he’s a bastard, and other such mother-son stuff, many people in the audience cracked up. Not quite the reaction Jha was looking for.

And what is with all the women getting pregnant? Three of the characters in the film get pregnant, just like that. On a whim, almost. Tazeen has touched upon this in her non-review. Whatever happened to safe sex?

Now for the positive bit. Note the use of the singular. The film is accurate in its representation of Indian electoral politics. For example, time and again, we are shown how the electorate falls for the most ridiculous speeches about parivaar, balidan, qurbani, suhaag, and other such shit. And perhaps the most telling moment – and one of the film’s inadvertently-authentic scenes – comes towards the end, where the faithful family chauffeur, the historically maginalised, has to take refuge again at the feet of the dynasty, the very dynasty that put paid to all his dreams and that can still maintain the status quo because his son is now dead. Rubs home the fact that minions like us can rave, rant, blog, tweet and light all the candles we want, it don’t count for nothing in the end. So there is still that touch of authenticity, albeit a very fleeting one, that we expect from Jha.

Finally, while still on the question of authenticity, there’s been a lot of speculation in the media about whether this film is, in parts, a thinly disguised representation of India’s first dynasty. I can confirm to you that all such speculation is unfounded. How do I know? Well, in all the scenes of the party core committee, right from the beginning of the film, there’s this quiet, unremarkable and presumably loyal Sardar present. But finally Katrina Kaif is made the CM. Not the quiet, unremarkable and loyal Sardar. So how’s that real life, huh?

You know what I love about Indian movies shot abroad? The fact that the US, the UK and Australia seem to be predominantly inhabited by Indians, and everyone else seems incidental. And so it is with Kites. An Indian, by his own admission, controls the city of Las Vegas. “Yahan ki business, police, judges, senators, sab apne mutthi main hain.” It’s funny when Indians recreate the world in their own image. And that’s probably the nicest thing I can say about the film. You have been warned.

I read an article in the recent issue of India Today where the cost of Kites was pegged at 130 crores. Too bad for them that despite having shitloads of money, they still didn’t get a writer. And that’s the problem with yet another Indian film. For a movie that’s been touted as a passionate love story, I had to squint rather hard to see the passion, the love was of the “blink-and-you-will-miss-it” variety, and there was no fucking story.

Instead what you got was a terribly boring and pretentious film, where water motifs alternated with shabbily-executed car chases interspersed with some non-existent chemistry between the lead pair.

(Spoilers ahead)

There is – par for the course, again, as far as most Indian films go – the complete lack of logic. Beach house in Vegas? The whole divorce bit? Finding his mobile again? 11 marriages to enable immigration? That whole bit towards the beginning where J has to kill someone to truly bond with his in-laws, and how he gets out of it? Really? The whole escape across at least two states and into Mexico? The repetitive car chases? The cops behaving like a private army? The even-by-our-standards ridiculous escape from both the cops and the bandits at the motel? The I-can-take-a-bullet-in-the-chest-and-drive-for-a-few-hours-until-the-climax bit?

The movie has been called a tragedy. The only tragedy is that it was ever made. If the lack of logic wasn’t enough, there’s the inconsistent characterisation. Like how the bad guys always shoot first and say hello later, even shooting guys at random in Arizona (or was it California) and Mexico, but towards the end, on their own turf (remember that little speech about owning Vegas?), they turn surprisingly chatty. And then there are the moments that make you nostalgic about the spectacularly bad days of Indian cinema – especially when every car involved in a collision flips over twice in the air and then explodes in a ball of fire. And let’s not forget the moments just before the climax, when Hrithik finally gives it back. Very reminiscent of a bad ‘80s film with Mithun Da firing a Sten-gun at the villains and all the bad boys falling to the ground. Luckily it’s been shot at night, and in the rain. The fact that you can’t see much makes it less painful. But that’s essentially the thought process of Papa Roshan and Anurag Basu. “Take a bad and tacky film from the eighties, and make an even worse and tackier remake. Oh, and let’s shoot it in the US and Mexico, with Hrithik showing off his torso, and Barbara stripped down to her underwear. The gullible audience will buy it.”

(Spoilers end)

And even though they still might have the last laugh about the gullible audience bit, the following questions must be asked: What were these guys thinking? What had they been smoking? Who let them out?

Women who just want to watch Hrithik, everything else be damned – be advised, it will be much cheaper, and less masochistic, to just watch all his endorsements on TV. Not much difference. As for the men, well, Barbara Mori isn’t all that hot. What’s that you’re mumbling? The bikini shot? Sorry, dude. The movie still ain’t worth it. Trust me. This is one instance when I wish that what happened in Vegas stayed in Vegas.

This is an Indian movie that has pretensions of going international. Given the lows to which Hollywood has sunk in the recent past (Avatar, Transformers 2, Iron Man 2), one might have thought this was a good idea. But this film makes the three I have mentioned look like classics.

I hear the international version is apparently a trimmed-down one. That’s a good idea. If they trim 129 minutes of its approximately 130 minutes running time, and retain only the first shot of the kites in the sky, the film just might have a chance.

Then again, it might not.

My sister sent me the link to this the other day. It’s been around for a while now, but this is the first time I saw it. And I just had to share it.

It’s an outstanding piece of work. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the video – mainly because he makes me feel a lot better about my dancing skills.

By the way, he really starts to rock after 1:44…….. 🙂

If this is actually part of a film, could someone please let me know which one? I just have to watch it. It can’t be as bad as the current crop of crap we have in the theatres.

I chanced upon an interview of someone called Sonal Sehgal, who’s acting in Radio. It seems she has a line there where she asks another female character – presumably about Himesh – “Are you fuck buddies?” (In theatres, look out for the line “Are you beeeep buddies?”)

Oh the horror, the sheer horror – and incredulity – of it all. Himesh? Fuck buddy?? WTF??? (What will we have next? Aamir as a student? Nah. Let’s not be ridiculous.)

Unless, of course, the film is inspired by that classic fairy-tale about the Princess and the Frog, with Himesh having landed the “before” part.

To be fair to Himesh, his self-belief and tenacity are admirable. He believes he is a ‘hero’, and it seems the universe has granted him his wish. Thrice. And why not, considering that Kishan Kumar was also granted his. Many times.

*

Kishan Kumar who? Don’t tell me you never heard that musical blockbuster, Kaccha Sila Diya Tune Mere Pyar Kaa! Enjoy!

Utter Fucking Crap.

What can you write about a movie that’s two hours too long and interminably boring? That it is verbose. That it tries too hard. And that it does have two or three moments. Finis.

One expected much more from Imtiaz Ali, even if it was pretty much par for the course for Saif. After Socha Na Tha and Jab We Met, the expectations were huge. Hell, after being terribly disappointed by both Ice Age 3 and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, I actually thought LAK would end the movie drought. Wishful thinking, as it turned out. It’s a film that tries too hard to be smart, too hard to be trendy, too hard to live up to its own hype.

The biggest takeaway is that there’s too much friggin’ talk in the film. Yap Yap Yap. Yackety Yak. Blah Blah Blah. Yada Yada Yada. And then more of the same. The interval came and I asked myself, “So what’s happened so far?” The answer was: Jai and Meera had just broken up. That’s it. The rest was all talk.

There is some kind of plot. Just barely. Boy meets girl, they hit it off, they carry on for some time, they break up, they discover that they’re still very fond of each other, and even though they each enter into a different relationship that doesn’t quite make the grade, they continue to be friends along the lines of Sally Albright and Harry Burns, and after a couple of predictable twists, they figure out they’re fated to be together.

It just doesn’t have enough meat for a two hour film. While even Jab We Met was thin on plot, it was high on moments. It was high on laughs. And the actors never overshadowed the characters, and the setting never overshadowed the film. But in this one – all that could go wrong, did.

There’s absolutely no chemistry between the lead pair. Zero. As for the actors themselves, I have never thought too highly of Saif and he did nothing to change my opinion. Deepika looked good, but her dialogue delivery was stilted. Luckily for her, most of the film seemed to be a lengthy monologue by Saif and so she didn’t get too many chances to show off her poor acting skills. But I must say that one of the three good moments in the film – for me – was a Deepika moment. More on that later. Rishi Kapoor was good.

I am not sure how the film will do. The theatre was packed, so that means it’ll probably do well. The audience laughed at all the wrong places, and that could also make the film the surprise comedy hit of the year. The music’s quite decent, and it has been well received. But given that it’s Pritam’s music, I figure one will not have to wait too long before the ‘inspiration’ behind these tunes comes to light.

For me, there were three good moments in the film. The best, by far, was when Veer Singh goes to Calcutta to ‘meet’ Harleen (extremely well-cast). A beautifully done moment, with no dialogues (phew!) and a very nice song in the background. Conveyed everything one wanted to know about the characters and their relationship.

The second was when a drunken Jai escorts a sloshed Meera to her apartment. As has been the case with all of us who have been that drunk, one always has the urge, at that point of time, to show the world one is normal. So I identified with Jai when he nonchalantly asked the watchman “Aur bhai, sab theek-thakk hai?” – or something along those lines.

The third moment – the Deepika moment – was when Jai finally seeks out Meera, and, while she pretends to be normal, casual even, she does quietly give in to her emotions for a brief moment – but when Jai can’t see her.

But three moments do not a film make, and therein lies the rub with Love Aaj Kal. As Meera says to Jai early on in the film – when he tries too hard to be hot, he doesn’t succeed.

Imtiaz should have listened to that bit of advice from his own script.

I finally watched Gulaal. And I’m not quite sure what to make of it. It’s a decent film, but clearly nowhere near Anurag’s best.

Anurag’s maturity as a film-maker has grown with every film. Having watched every one of his films, including Paanch (courtesy a friend), it’s easy to pick Dev D as his best work. So far.

Anurag is perhaps the most (frighteningly, maybe even the only) original mind Bollywood has. The sheer audacity and re-contextualisation of his interpretation of Devdas was spellbinding. No Smoking is perhaps the most mind-numbingly original script ever seen in Bollywood. It is also a very well-shot film. And while it is an extremely complex and convoluted film, albeit with a certain consistent logic of its own, it is also criminally self-indulgent.

And that is Kashyap’s greatest flaw, his weakest spot, one that dilutes his genius on screen – his extreme self-indulgence. And the fact that he is too clever for his own good. In every film of his, there are certain ‘trademarks’, if I may call them that. The college/hostel lingo and the assorted jokes. The little ideas he gets carried away with and over-executes, like the Ranvir –John childhood spoof, or the Cuban cigar interlude, in No Smoking. Even the name (Infidel Castrated) reeked of a certain smugness. Another example is Paro, in Dev D, chasing the factory-worker and finally burning his clothes. He’s also exceedingly fond of the neon-lit pub look – as seen in Dev D, Gulaal and No Smoking. And then there’s the sermonising. The overt preachiness of both Gulaal and Hanuman (the animation film he co-directed) is annoying. In my assessment, as he has jettisoned some or all of these trademarks, his films have got better. And that is why I rank Dev D as the tightest film of the lot.

Gulaal also suffers because he has tried to pack in too much. It is a political allegory at many levels. It is a commentary on the betrayal of the idea of India and on the politics of identity. It is a representation of student politics in India. It is, somewhere, a dark coming-of-age film. It cleverly cocks a snook at gender stereotypes. It is a metaphor for the rise of the dispossessed and the marginalised, and how they end up propagating the very system that excluded them. It has a Foucaultian mad artist (a self-reference perhaps?) as the sole voice of reason. And it tries – obliquely – to comment on the state of the post 9/11 world. Whew! And I’m sure I’ve missed a few. And that’s still too much to pack into a little over two hours.

Where did he go wrong as a writer-director? Let’s start with the preachiness. Given the scope of the film, the easiest thing to do was to have the characters give us their views as if standing on a soapbox. Uncharacteristically, Kashyap does exactly that. So we are, at various points, made to hear speeches (including the Duniya song) on the betrayal of Indian democracy, on the venality of our leaders, on the death of the idea of a nation. (No Smoking, a clever defence of the smoker’s right to choose, had no such preachiness. The message was woven into the film.) Then there is the too-clever-by-half Ranaji song. I expected Kashyap to do better, since he is a director who does not like to spoon-feed his audience. My grouse is that these views needed to be better integrated into the storyline, rather than thrown at us as if they were political speeches on a news-channel. Overt, undisguised and moral preaching is best left to the Films Division and to religious channels. And to lesser directors like Rakeysh Mehra.

There is also the utter pointlessness of the Jesse Randhawa track. It added nothing to the film, and could’ve easily been done away with. Or the character could’ve been modified somewhat. She was truly not in sync with her settings. Piyush Mishra, in the role of the madman as the only voice of sanity was, well, clichéd. And I couldn’t understand the point of Piyush Mishra’s sidekick, the Ardh Nari character. If there was a point, it eluded me.

To me, Ayesha Mohan was the true protagonist of the film – along with her brother; but Aditya is more the puppet-master. Ayesha lets herself be used and uses others, as long as that takes her closer to her goal. And she’s not afraid to admit it. And while we see a reversal of stereotypes in her relationship with Raj, Anurag seemed to be trying too hard to ram that point home; like when he showed Ayesha smoking in every scene with Raj.

On the whole, though, the positives outnumbered the negatives. So I would call it a decent film, but would definitely stick to my view that, perhaps, had the post-Dev D-Anurag directed the film, we might have seen a much better product. Dev D saw Anurag kicking a lot of his pet addictions, and I feel that made him a better film-maker. I hope we see more of that in his forthcoming works.

I have one very real fear, though. A lot of the power of his work has come from the fact that as a marginalised film-maker – remember, in the commercial sweepstakes, he ranked abysmally low, though we loved his films – his passion, anger and sincerity shone through. He was a rebel, his cinema displayed that, and we loved what we saw. I hope his gradual assimilation into the mainstream and his new found ‘respectability’ do not lead him to commit a betrayal similar to the one KK Menon so hammily ranted about in Gulaal.

I have never felt more proud to be Indian. What a great night! Slumdog Millionaire, that most Indian of films, won a slew of Oscars and vindicated the creative genius of 1.2 billion Indians. I don’t know about you, but I choked with pride when the 265 strong contingent went on stage to receive the Best Picture Oscar, though the presence of some non-Indians in that group irritated me. Especially that gora making the speech. What was he trying to do, steal our thunder? Typical of the Brits, trying to appropriate an Indian movie as their own.

I know that some of you spoilsports have probably ODed on the euphoria, but I haven’t. I consider the almost non-stop coverage in India of this historic win, to the exclusion of any other news, deficient. It seems the media have a problem with Indian pride. This was an Indian honour, as much as Sunita Williams’s ascent into space and Bobby Jindal’s assumption of the governorship. India Rules, said quite a few websites and TV screens. Indeed it does. Why grudge us our moment of triumph?

And what a triumph! A film shot in India, with Indian actors, an Indian music composer, an Indian sound mixer and based on a book written by an Indian – what more proof of Indian-ness could one ask for? What’s that? Did someone say director and producer? Let me tell you, Dannyji has very strong India connections. He lived in India while the film was being shot, his people lived here for centuries (at least till 1947) and hey – curry is his favourite food! And India has also produced the film, because, as we all know, the wealth of Britain came from India – when we were the greatest country in the world and all that. So the money used to produce the film is actually Indian. Therefore it is an Indian film. QED.

Sonia Gandhi, the PM and other notables have swung into the felicitations game, and Chidambaram is planning to exempt Rahman – and only Rahman – from any tax in case the Academy does decide, in an unprecedented break with tradition, to mark this momentous occasion by giving ARR some cash as well. Poor Resul’s achievement, even after his truly heart-wrenching “This is for my country” routine, was ignored by Chidambaram.

There are strong recommendations that the cast and crew should immediately be given Bharat Ratnas. And that the government should announce cash awards for all those associated with the film. February 23rd may also be declared Slumdog Divas, a national holiday and dry day. It is rumoured, though, that the government is not too keen – yet – to give in to demands to declare Slumdog India’s National Film, or to rename the Dadasaheb Phalke awards.

The government has, however, declared the slum complex of Dharavi a national and protected monument. No changes, alterations or modifications would henceforth be allowed in Dharavi, and it will be preserved in its current state for posterity. In fact, to boost tourism, the government reiterated its commitment to create more Dharavis all over India. Full page ads were taken out in prominent newspapers by the Ministry of Urban Development, taking credit for a consistent and focused programme of slum growth, without which this honour might not have been possible. The opposition declared this a poll gimmick and threatened to complain to the Election Commission.

In related but unreported developments, Amar Singh declared himself the Bade Bhaiya of the entire cast and crew of Slumdog (for some mysterious reason, Freida was not on the list of siblings), and even offered Dev Patel, Freida Pinto and Danny Boyle party tickets to contest the Lok Sabha elections. When someone pointed out to him that none of them was actually eligible or qualified, he said “Yes, I know, but don’t worry, we will create criminal records for all of them.” (With inputs from the Crapola News Network)

Edited to Add: Kislay was good enough to send this link, which has to be one of the most hilarious things I have ever come across!

I can understand why Bond fans have had mixed feelings about QOS, Daniel Craig notwithstanding. For the reinvention of Bond in today’s competitive scenario has taken away many of the attributes and quirks that defined 007 – at least the cinematic 007. This is not to say one wishes the present Bond were a throwback to the androgynous Roger Moore, but, somehow, a lot of characteristics that we came to see – rightly or wrongly – as defining Bond are not there in Craig’s 007. On the other hand, I have to hand it to the makers; it is not easy taking a well-known but fading brand, and in the face of increased competition in the last few years, being able to re-invent the formula successfully. At least in the commercial sense.

Darker times, I suppose, demand darker heroes. And so, the once suave hero, among whose peccadilloes one could list an overactive love-muscle and some endearing superciliousness, is now transformed into a brooding and emotionally scarred killing automaton (yes, that’s a cliché!) for whom the end completely justifies the means……and it’s not even one of those ‘larger-good’ ends…..it’s personal. And you get the distinct feeling that had MI6’s and 007’s interests not coincided – however imperfectly – 007 would pretty much have turned rogue to get what he wanted. The morally ambiguous hero has been notably successful of late, as Jason Bourne, Tony Stark and most spectacularly, Bruce Wayne, would testify. And it was a no-brainer that 007 would, perforce, have to follow suit.

And the reincarnated Bond could not have found someone better than Daniel Craig to carry it off. The man is outstanding as the New (Improved?) Bond, and after watching him play 007 in QOS, one realises there is actually no doubt as to whether this avatar of Bond is the ‘correct’ one or not. Is Daniel Craig’s character more relevant, more in-sync with our times? Undoubtedly so. Is he more believable in this high-octane action set-piece than his predecessors, displaying flair and remarkable athleticism? Again, emphatically yes.

Let’s look at the film now. Marc Forster was perhaps handicapped by the lack of a strong script. Because the story is infantile. And that is being charitable. The action, though, is breath-taking, comparable to any other film of the same genre. Nevertheless, one did get the feeling that in his zest to take the fight right to John McClane, Iron Man and Bourne, Forster made the cardinal error of taking his eyes off the plot. And the result is QOS, really nothing more than a spectacular collection of this year’s The World’s Most Extreme Sporting Videos, interspersed with Cultural Primer 101, la National Geographic, but not as good), some standard Environmental Platitudes and some done-to-death Third-World Corruption and Human Suffering.

During the course of the film, you realise that Bond and Bourne now have far more in common than Fleming, Ludlum, Forster or Greengrass intended – and this is even if I ignore the roof-top chase. And that’s when you understand the gripe Bond loyalists have.

If you don’t have predetermined notions of what 007 should be like and if you feel a credible plot has no place in cinema, you will enjoy the film – if nothing else, at least for the mindless yet dazzling action (land, sea and air…..); for some sardonic lines, again not from Bond (though he has one, as far as I remember), but from M; and for the smouldering Daniel Craig and the hot and delectable Olga Kurylenko.

You may also want to check out Shefaly’s review.