James Bond: The Spy Who Loved Men?


However macho something is by nature, it is never safe from the inklings of homoeroticism. In fact, sometimes the more macho something is, the more camp it appears. The James Bond movies have always had hints of gay – occasionally through outcast, misunderstood villains, or lesbians that appear as sexual challenges to 007. Now, in Skyfall, director Sam Mendes has painted the pinkest portrait yet, in the form of Javier Bardem’s wonderful cyber-psycho Silva. But what does it reveal about Bond himself?

Silva makes his entrance with a long walk across a warehouse floor, in a wonderfully shot scene where we watch him advance over chair-bound Bond’s shoulder. He delivers a curious monologue, which implies the two men are like rats who have eaten everyone else, and now must ‘eat each other’ – the innuendo of which is appreciated by the actors and the audience alike. Sitting down in front of Bond, he begins to unbutton 007′s shirt and caress his chest. As he implies his own homosexual experiences, he suggests Bond tries it himself, to which Bond teasingly replies, ‘What makes you think this is my first time?’. In the next scene, as Silva dares Bond to shoot a shot glass off a girl’s head, he says he will try too, and that whoever wins ‘gets to go on top’. These are the lines that have sparked mumbled giggles in cinemas, and brought delight to queer theorists everywhere.

It may not be coincidence that this new scene mirrors the Casino Royale moment where Craig’s Bond was tied to a chair and, with somewhat obvious homoerotic undertones, had his testicles whipped. Perhaps Craig as an actor is more open to it than any Bond before; perhaps it’s been there all along, lurking in the shadows; or perhaps the old undercurrents of homosexuality and blackmail in espionage are finally coming out of the closet and becoming more acceptable in this environment. Nothing is exactly confirmed or denied, but either way, this element of dubious sexuality makes for one of Skyfall‘s most popular talking points.

This piece originally appeared on SoSoGay magazine.


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