News came in about the director of the next James Bond film, and the name couldn’t have been more surprising to me. It’s Sam Mendes, director of American Beauty and Revolutionary Road.
On the one hand, I heartily approve of this new trend (does two in a row make it a trend?) of hiring artsy directors in lieu of action directors, the theory presumably being that the second unit can take care of the action scenes just fine on its own (Bond’s second unit team has always been among the best action teams in the business), leaving the producers free to pick a main director who excels at character and storytelling. It worked once: although not as good as Casino Royale, I thought Quantum of Solace was excellent.
But with Mendes in the director’s chair, I can’t help but think that Bond 23 is going to be the one where 007 goes undercover as an accountant to investigate a plague of angst and malaise lurking behind the white picket fences of America’s suburbs. The villain, no doubt, will be a criminal mastermind who has discovered a way of subtly reinforcing oppressive social traditions, thereby driving his victims to such unimaginable horrors as feeling guilty about having affairs.