Judi Dench – the greatest Bond woman of all time!
written by Anu Gopinath
The life of an assassin, going for his kill in the name of his Queen and his country, is riddled with the insecurities and fears of a man nearing the end of the tunnel and finding himself obsolete in the new world of drones and gadgets.
The one that kept James Bond sane (other than his Walther PPK of course) was the sturdy hands of a woman who went toe to toe with Bond – to unleash him to the world and then sheath him in the confines of Booze, women and the cold walls of MI6 at her whim, when found surplus for her needs and plans.
Long gone were the days of Connerys and Moores and the bond series was left stagnant for a significant period of time begging for resurrection when, MGM in all its wisdom chose to relaunch the series with Pierce Brosnan and later with Daniel Craig in the lead. The choice like any other came with its own controversies but the wisdom of its choice left the world in their gasps, when in came to the land of men guns and bullets, a woman, as the head of MI6 who will ever hold the crown of being the “the only woman who ever bought the secret agent to his knees”. DAME Judie Dench.
So the board was set. The hunt was afoot. Short in stature but abundant in talent, Judie Dench curved a niche for herself in the hearts of the fans and critics alike when she hunted down the enemies of state with the eye and cold heart of a hunter who killed for her Country and savoured the last moments of her prey with such nonchalance that will put even Dr.Hannibal Lecter to shame.
In a movie series where women character had practically nothing to speak of other than being the eye candy (with only Eva Green in 2006 Casino Royale being an exception), Judi Dench rode in with such authoritarian aura that she traded punch for punch, wit for wit, barb for barb with her adversaries as well as her top assassin to come out on top and each and every single time she found herself and her organisation on the ropes. And innumerable times she outshone her colleagues with such wit and charm that Brosnan and Craig humbly stepped back for her to take the centre stage.
Such was her acting prowess that she made the character of M a lasting symbol of reason and justice. Her forthrightness in supporting her top assassin even at the face of her worst rival, her ironclad judgement where she orders to even shoot him for the
greater good of saving many made her one of the most awe inspiring characters that cinema ever gifted to the world!
Starting her term as M in Goldeneye (1995) along side Pierce Brosnan, Judi Dench owned the role to such extend that it gave a new dimension to the character of M and in turn helped Brosnan in sharing the load of expectations that came naturally with the role of the most suave secret agent ever to have graced over the silver screen.
Bond movies reaped the benefits of her charisma and methodical acting and it was a fitting tribute and recognition to Judi Dench’s talent and contribution that her character was the only one which survived the reboot when MGM gave us the most manly bond in Daniel Craig.
Daniel Craig’s portrayal of Bond showed his vulnerable side of being a human who is steadfast and arrogant to the point of self destruction with her playing the perfect foil to her brash assassin guiding him when needed, reprimanding him when required and unleashing him when cornered.
Judi Dench brought her own style and perspective into the character of M that bond series would never be the same again. Perhaps it was fitting tribute to her achievements that her swan song as M was destined to be played out under the respectable eyes of some of the thespians of world cinema – Ralph Fiennes and Javier Bardem!
And when she finally walked away, she did so with her head held high having given the world a mere glimpse of the multitude of her talent and her name shall ever be etched in the lores of the cinema as GREATEST BOND WOMAN OF ALL TIME!
Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com