When it comes to his treatment of women, James Bond has never been a nice man. That’s part of his retrograde charm. But in "Skyfall," the newest installment of the Bond franchise, Agent 007 reaches a new level of not-niceness: having sex with and otherwise exploiting a captive victim of sexual trafficking. And it’s not at all charming to professional advocates for victims of sexual violence and trafficking.
On Thursday night I saw a screening of the film, which opens nationwide today (and which I otherwise enjoyed). Here’s a quick summary of the relevant plot thread, with some spoilers:
At a casino in Macau, Bond meets Sévérine, a woman he believes to be working for Silva, the film’s villain. Bond notices a distinctive tattoo on her wrist that identifies her as a former brothel worker and correctly guesses that she is not, in fact, Silva’s employee but his captive, bought or stolen out of the brothels to serve him. She agrees to lead Bond to Silva on the promise that he will kill the villain. They part ways. In the following scene, Sévérine, who believes Bond to be dead, is in the shower when he enters, naked, and initiates sex. In the following scene, they arrive at Silva’s stronghold, and Silva promptly kills Sévérine.