SPECTRE (Sam Mendes 2015)

MV5BMjM2Nzg4MzkwOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzA0OTE3NjE@._V1_SX640_SY720_and so anyway it turns out that the best thing about SPECTRE (2015) is not that with Sam Mendes’s sprightly directorial style they have found a helmsman as precisely geriatric as this leaden, self-important iteration of the franchise, nor that the atrocious dialogue actually succeeds in making you miss Roger Moore, nor that it spectacularly misrepresents North African rail services so as to set the benchmark for what we should expect from Prime Minister-to-be Jeremy Corbyn’s thankfully renationalised rail service (every carriage first class, with a bar, boutiques and tailors), nor that its title sequence manages to do tentacle hentai as insipidly as it does theme tune, no, the very best thing about SPECTRE is the hidden-in-plain-sight Marcel Proust allusion that is there for no reason other than to remind you of things past, when Bond used to be fun and misogynist rather than just dull and misogynist…

Revolutionary Road (Sam Mendes 2008)

519vG-uGMGLand so anyway it turns out the best thing about Revolutionary Road (2008) is not all the fucking endless acting cluttering up the scenes in which DiCaprio and Winslet, reunited at last, make you root for the iceberg all over again, but the way in which Sam Mendes takes Richard Yates’s novel – which is, whether by accident or design, neatly poised between a sympathetic portrait of white suburbanites turning on each other as they confront the emptiness of their lives and a devastating satire on these awful, self-deluded pricks who should just hurry up and die horribly – and in the adaptation process to so clearly aim for the former but achieve the latter … well, apart from the bit about devastating satire…

American Beauty (Sam Mendes 1999)

American_Beauty_posterand so anyway it turns out that the best thing about American Beauty (1999) is not (to my surprise) watching it through a low-level but persistent hangover and half-closed eyes which enable you to pretend you are drifting off to sleep rather than watching the film, nor is it Sam Mendes’s cunning bait-and-switch, where the film starts off being less terrible than you have spent the last decade and a half assuming it is but then becomes far more terrible than the darkest nightmares about it which have plagued you for the last decade and a half, no, the best thing about American Beauty is that it is now in my past (I don’t have to finally bring myself to watch it, because I have done that now, unlike Revolutionary Road (2008), the other Sam Mendes movie I have to get through today for work reasons…