infinitepryde: (Default)
[personal profile] infinitepryde
So, Skyfall.

Again, I have been seeing a lot of people bitch about Skyfall and misogyny. And yes, it is a Bond movie, so to a large extent women are Going To Be There and Going To Be Disposable, and they will stand out because we will pay attention to them and their names and their story and not to the Also Disposable men; so while there is always going to be misogyny there, it's largely a part of the Bond universe pretty much slaughtering everybody in the area.

But there are places where I'm not sure I actually saw the same movie as other people, because there's a lot of the bitching I kinda disagree with.



There is a lot of griping about Eve Moneypenny not staying in field work. There is a lot of griping about Eve Moneypenny being singled out to not stay in field work.

This is missing that in the ENTIRE MOVIE there are only two people actually presently temperamentally suited for field work. Out of everyone we see? Two.

("She never lied to me." No, Bond didn't pass the medicals. But he passed M's test, and they both knew it -- because he wasn't in shape at that second, but digging the damn shrapnel out of himself with a knife was his way of reminding her that that second didn't matter.)

Eve Moneypenny was competent for field work, but not suited to it. It's something she could do, and do reasonably well -- unlike most of the men in the movie. It's not something she'd be stellar at. And they need someone with that skillset right where she wound up. And she is doing something far more important right where she chose to be; watching Mallory, and helping M's former assistant provide continuity -- Mallory is not familiar with M's people or her style, just with her results, and Eve Moneypenny helps fill that gap with a dose of a certain sort of practicality. And Mallory isn't such a young man himself; eventually someone else will be needed to fill that initial.

M was temperamentally suited for field work, and I think it's implied fairly strongly that she's been there -- on tasks that didn't demand marksmanship. She has other skills that were far, far more important. I've seen people argue that M was reduced in this movie to the sum of her failures --

The problem with that argument being that M didn't fail.

She did her job. She took situations that had no acceptable paths out and forced them into paths that did the least damage. Her job involves creating horrors, and some of them work for her, and some of them will come back. Her skillset involves shaping situations and shaping people, and she did that.

She said something like: "damned if I will leave this place worse off than when I came in." And she spent the rest of the sequence of events already having written herself off. What would she do retired, after all? And her death --

Survival would have been an inconvenience, really, which may explain why she wasn't better protected.

Her death, and the sequence of her actions and her choices that led to it --

When that sequence started, she had one and a half of the five people she needed in place. Her nameless assistant, in the correct place, with the correct mindset and information. Q, in the correct place, but untested and untried.

Skyfall is not the story of Judi Dench's M's failures coming back to haunt her, destroying her as she makes the wrong decisions.

Skyfall is the story of consequences that have been long since accepted; and Judi Dench's M maneuvering Q and Mallory and Moneypenny and Bond into position, and tempering three of them, and finishing her work on the fourth, at high speed. Using her own life and death with the same offhand ruthlessness that she used her agents'.

Look at her when she's talking to Silva: she knows exactly what's going on there; she's playing to the audience. (I can't help but think of her as thinking "what, did you think I didn't have to be aware of this film? And you're far less attractive even with your prosthetic than Tom Hiddleston, little boy.") Look at her when Bond sweeps her away: she's perfectly all right with that, because she's done everything else she's needed to. Q has made his ghastly mistake, and will spend the rest of his life aware of the lives lost. Mallory has been woken up, and Bond's been forced to confront his competence. Moneypenny was already in place, but now she's been through the firefight at home, too. Everything else is in place for her successor; all she has to do now is deal with Silva and wrap up her work with Bond, delivering him to Mallory and company (because Mallory will not be able to be M by himself, it will take rather more than just him to do M's job for a bit yet), and Bond is conveniently giving her a route to do these things personally.

I'll miss her; I'll miss the irritable pale shadow she cast across the last seven films. (Seven!) But do not for one second think that her hands were not on the controls to her last breath. She ran that film.
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