I have mentioned in a previous article that Daniel Craig’s James Bond has the biggest story arc of all the incarnations of the character. This is clear to see, but it can also be observed in his co-stars. There is a convention in Bond movies of two “Bond Girls”. The secondary of them often appears first in the movie but is ultimately a disposable character. Her normal role is to provide some cheap thrills for both Bond and the audience, move the plot forward and is then disposed of, sometimes terminally. A look at these characters tells us a lot about how Bonds character develops across Craig’s four films.
WARNING PLOT SPOILERS FOR ALL FOUR MOVIES
The first such character that Craig’s Bond encounters is Solange (Caterina Murino) in Casino Royale (2006). The wife of Alex Dimitrios (Simon Abkarian), who is in the employ of the films main villain Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), Bond sleeps with her to get what he wants then leaves her to clearly knowing that his actions could have fatal consequences for her, ultimately they do! Bond’s cold detachment happens before his heart is thawed but ultimately broken by Vesper Lynd (Eva Green).
Quantum of Solace (2008) is a direct sequel to Casino Royale, but most importantly post Vesper. Bond has allready met the movies primary character Camille (Olga Kurylenko) before the appearance of Agent Fields (her first name is revealed in the credits if you are interested) (Gemma Arterton). After putting herself in the firing line of Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), she is abandoned by Bond who leaves with Camille to follow a lead. Her death is clearly an homage Goldfinger. Bond leaves a none field agent in danger without even thinking about it but does feel the need to avenge her, sending Green to a certain death when he may have been better questioning him. This is a reckless broken Bond who is yet to find the humanity he must find before he can think about any idea of redemption.
Skyfall (2012), is a slightly different proposition, there is no primarily Bond Girl, the slot is instead filled by M (Judi Dench) and to a lesser extent Eve (Naomie Harris) who is later revealed as Moneypenny. The secondary part is taken by Severine (Bérénice Marlohe). Her death at the hands of Silva (Javier Bardem) is followed by a quip from Bond that has led to a lot of speculation. Was this the cold pre Vesper Bond, or a tactic to distract Silva? I have always believed the latter but understand other point of view.
This finally brings us up to date with Spectre (2015). Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci). In the pre-credit sequence we see Bond killing Marco Sciarra (Alessandro Cremona). It is later revealed to be an unsanctioned hit, acting on orders from beyond the grave for the previous M (Judi Dench). At the funeral he meets Lucia Sciarra who in true Bond fashion she falls into his arms (and into bed) before revelling vital information to further the investigation. After he has what he wants, instead of leaving her to die Bond calls in a favour from Felix Leiter of the CIA (who we haven’t seen since Quantum of Solace) to protect her. The character is has a lot of similarities to Solange in Casino Royale, Bond’s more human and humane treatment is surely testament to the development of him as a person over the four movies. Is Bond in love with Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) at the end of the movie? was Bond capable of love in Quantum of Solace and Skyfall?
On a side note, A lot was made of an older woman in the part, the first to be older than Bond (Monica Bellucci is four years older than Craig, Bérénice Marlohe eleven years younger, Gemma Arterton eighteen years younger and Caterina Murino nine years younger) this was followed by great disappointed that she isn’t given a lot to do. While this is true, it is better to have an actress like Bellucci lending a certain class to the part than a typical twenty-something as used in other movies. For example, Bellucci was considered for the par of Paris Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), a part that ultimately went to Teri Hatcher. Both Hatcher and Bellucci are eleven years younger than then Bond, Pierce Brosnan.