Concise Review: For Your Eyes Only (1981)


For Your Eyes Only is a strange beast. On the one hand, it valiantly attempts to tell a down to earth, no-nonsense spy story in the vein of the Ian Flemming’s novels. The story is about the hunt for the ATAC device that controls Britain’s Nuclear Weapon System. Additionally, it has the theme of revenge as the primary Bond girl- Melina Havelock seeks it throughout the picture for the murder of her parents. However, on the other hand, it strives to deliver the thrilling, albeit outlandish fare that one expects from a James Bond picture.

This interplay is fascinating as the serious and small moments particularly stand out. For Your Eyes Only is at its best when little moments of tension are established, and the wry smile-inducing action sequences that emerged out of these. Through the use of point of view shots, subtle foreground and background establishing shots and close-ups, director John Glenn delivers a fun and tense experience.

Finally, the film marks Roger Moore’s best performance as 007. If you wanted an encapsulation of the appeal of Moore’s Bond, then this film tells you. Sharp, smooth, gentlemanly, fiercely paternal and terribly cold-blooded, Moore’s Bond is a cocktail of captivating contradictions.

About Sartaj Govind Singh

Notes from a distant observer: “Sartaj is a very eccentric fellow with a penchant for hats. He likes watching films and writes about them in great analytical detail. He has an MA degree in Philosophy and has been known to wear Mickey Mouse ears on his birthday.”
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