Yesterday, at the usually less popular 6.30pm screening in Ritzy’s huge Screen One, I couldn’t get in to see Spectre – it had completely sold out, which indicates a hit to eclipse even Skyfall. But I was glad I couldn’t, because the next available film, which I might otherwise have missed, was The Lobster, a film which couldn’t be more effectively strange, as well as strangely affecting, if it were written by Charlie Kaufman. The less said about this dystopian sci-fi parable on the nature of romance the better, to preserve your enjoyment when you see it. (You will see it, won’t you? Trust me on this.)
But great was my surprise and pleasure in the coincidence when, on finally seeing Spectre in IMAX tonight, the same actress cropped up again in a key role – Léa Seydoux. The two roles couldn’t be more different. Whereas in The Lobster she had played the chillingly cold Queen of Loners, she was Spectre’s warm, beating heart.
A couple of friends told me they couldn’t fully enjoy Spectre, as it was “emotionally unengaging”. I do agree that Daniel Craig, like some sort of celebrity version of The Portrait of Dorian Gray, becomes more and more like his own Madame Tussauds waxwork with each successive outing. But Léa Seydoux (and Ben Whishaw, given a lot more to do as Q in this film) gave the film its emotional centre.
She’s not overtly sexy in the way Bond girls have classically been, but you can practically see the wisps of smoke emanating from furnaces deep inside. She’s not an action heroine, but she can handle a gun when she has to. When she’s on screen, you forget that Spectre is an inherently ridiculous (though masterfully executed) action movie, and it seems like a human drama once again.