‘Goldfinger’ Review: The Midas Touch

Posted in The Screening Room by - January 05, 2016

If you know the title, you know just merely hearing the title brings in the brass extravaganza and Shirley Bassey’s potent vocals screaming “Gooooldffiiiingeeeer”, once you hear the tune, you know you’re in for a treat. This is one of the most entertaining entries in the Bond saga.

In it, 007 must stop Auric Goldfinger and his henchmen from contaminating the Fort Knox gold reserve to destroy the world economy. What follows is classic, top-notch Bond with car chases, fights, stunts, women, a great John Barry score and  Oddjob, one of the creepiest and coolest henchmen ever to feature in a Bond movie. It’s just a lot of fun.

As far as classic Bond movie goes, it’s campy but not too campy and even then, you’re still fully involved in the story. Things make enough sense to get by and turn the movie into an enjoyable ride. And yes, some of the special effects are dated but one can still relish how great the more practical stunts look. They’re exciting and creative. But what’s more is that when the movie has to be brutal, it sure feels brutal. Very little if any blood is spilled in the movie, but in Bond’s fights with Oddjob, you actually feel a sense of danger. He’s a scary villain who could easily chop off Bond’s head with just a stroke of his hand to his neck. One of the most memorable scenes involves Bond strapped to a table, questioned by Goldfinger who is aiming a laser that will split him in two. Even if you know the outcome, the sequence is still scary. It’s one of those moments where Bond almost loses his cool and you can truly feel that his life is at stake. It’s also a testament to Sean Connery as James Bond. He brings in the tough guy persona, the classiness, but also a certain humanity that makes him believable as a person. Surely someone like James Bond can’t exist, considering all his adventures, he would have died a long time ago, either from internal hemorrhaging or an STD, but the fact that we actually see him concerned about his own safety in a way that makes total logical sense and that Connery shows this so well is a testament to both the character and Connery’s performance.

If there’s any elements that might be at least a bit unnerving is that this is one of the Bond movies where he’s not necessarily the nicest guy to the ladies; in just the first ten minutes he uses a woman to shield himself from a punch and butt-slaps a masseuse. Given Bond’s playboy personality and survival instincts, it is to be expected, but it still feels a bit awkward to watch.  It doesn’t really kill the movie, though and it’s not constant.

Overall, Goldfinger is pure Bond fun. I’m not quite sure if it’s one of the best movies of the franchise, but as pure entertainment, you can’t really go wrong. It offers some of the most memorable 007 moments and set quite a few precedents of what the franchise would be known for.

Final Say: Watch It

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