Skip to content

Sam Mendes

Road To Perdition * Sam Mendes (2002)

A nothing special, but descent Hollywood production.

In the 1930’ies USA a family runs a liquor factory and they do so fairly roughly. Michael Sullivan (a good Tom Hanks) does the dirty work, but then becomes the subject of dirty work himself.

The story unfolds unsurprisingly, but nicely. The atmosphere is good as is the camera work.

“Road To Perdition” is a good film without surprises or without being ‘special’. No waste of time, but nothing to put high on your watch-list. It features a young Daniel Graig and Jude Law by the way.

Spectre * Sam Mendes (2015)

Sam Mendes took up the 007 franchise again. In my review of “Skyfall”, I wrote that Mendes managed to make a blend of hip action, 007-feeling and arthouse. “Skyfall” is a descent film, but not necessarily the best Bond. I can say the same about “Spectre”.

With “Spectre” Mendes seems to have aimed to make a classic James Bond film. The story is simple, Bond’s ways are spectacular and risky, there is an old-fashioned score, there are women (Monica Belluci’s part is way too short), a villain with big plans for world domination, name it. This aim for a classic feel does work here and there, but like with most films in the series, “Spectre” may be amusing but not particularly good.

We begin in Mexico where Bonds throws a few bad guys from a helicopter above a square stuffed with people. Being pushed aside by M for this scandal, Bond naturally sets out on his own to find the bad guy who was supposed to be dead. With many references to old Bond-films, several actors and even characters that we know from other titles, Bond chases a man who wants to put up a big data centre that will gather global information. Bond’s past chases him as he tries to unravel the sinister plot and save the women he meets along the road.

“Spectre” makes an action film with a fairly uncomplex story, unevolving characters, an allright atmosphere and descent acting.

Amusing, but not particularly good.

Skyfall * Sam Mendes (2012)

However more interesting films are currently to be seen on the big screen (“Cloud Atlas”, “Le Magasin Des Suicides”) we set out to see the latest 007 spectacle. It surely is a spectacle. The full speed opening fight is pretty annoying and the first half of the film makes one of those hip action films of today. What Mendes did manage well is that through all this up-to-date action, he manages to weave that Bond feeling a bit. This gets much better in the second half which is for a large part a real Bond. The story is somewhat atypical with both prequel and sequel elements. With an old drunkard as Bond, the sequel elements prevail. The bad guy does not have plans to blow up the world this time, but this is made into another element to give depth to the whole Bond story. We learn about James’ youth, his relation at work, etc. and Silva’s plan also fits into Mendes’ theme in this regard. There is another nice twist to this film. People who watch the better kind of film, will know Sam Mendes for his “American Beauty”. However he did not plan to make an “Arty-Farty” film the arthouse audience will recognise several actors from “Skyfall” from smaller productions, so Mendes somehow managed to mix the old feeling of Bond with arthouse and action as the audience wants in 2012. “Skyfall”, to me, is not much better (nor worse) than most Bond films, but it will please people who come for the action and people who come for a good film, so I guess this explains why it is already the most succesfull Bond film.