Irish censor slaps tough
rating on 'gritty' Bond
The Sunday Times November 05, 2006

Irish censor slaps tough rating on 'gritty' Bond

Jan Battles

THE LATEST James Bond movie has already broken a record
even before its opens across the country in 12 days’ time.
The Irish film censor has decided that Daniel Craig’s first
outing as 007 in Casino Royale will carry a 15 certificate —
the highest rating yet for a James Bond film.
The Irish authorities have decided the film, in which a
naked Bond is violently tortured, is suitable only for people
aged 15 and over, and younger viewers must be
accompanied by an adult.

The Irish rating is stricter than the British classification of
12A, even though both audiences will see the same version.
The Motion Picture Association of America gave the Bond
film a PG-13 rating because of “intense sequences of violent
action, a scene of torture, sexual content and nudity”.

“This would not be a 12A to us because of the violence,”
said John Kelleher, the Irish film censor. “This is a 15A and
I think parents will agree.

“There is a particularly strong scene; there are several. And
our classification is based on the totality of the film, not on
one scene. It’s not saying that kids can’t see it but the
person who can decide that is the parent. The 15A (cert) as
opposed to the 12A is a very strong signal that this contains
strong violence.”

Peter Taylor, managing director of Sony Pictures, which is
distributing Casino Royale, does not believe the higher
certificate in Ireland will limit its audience. “John (Kelleher)
is using the 15A to advise people he feels the content is
particularly suitable to a certain group and not to another.
We are happy with that.”

Fran McCormick, manager of the Dara cinema in Naas, is
also relaxed about the classification. “They’re trying to
create a new format with this Bond, more tough. I think
they’re trying to compete with the likes of The Bourne
Identity,” McCormick said. “Kids can go in and see it with
their parents or guardians. It hasn’t been given a 16
certificate which would be strictly that age and no lower.”

Bobby Sharma, area manager for Vue in Liffey Valley
believes the film is going to be a big success in Ireland,
even with its 15A rating. “It will still be one of the major
films of the year,” he predicted.

In the most gruesome scene in the $100m (€79m) film,
Bond is stripped and tied to a chair while his genitals are
lashed by a sadistic villain. In the Ian Fleming book the spy
is tortured with a cane carpet-beater, but this is substituted
for a heavy knotted rope in the film. Martin Campbell, its
director, has described it as scarier than anything the spy
faced in his previous 20 outings.

Describing the scene last week, Craig said: “I’m in the
middle of the room and I’m thrown down on the floor and
stripped. You see the henchman take a chair and cut the
bottom out of it with a knife and then I’m sitting in it,
naked. In the movie we use a spliced ship’s rope.”

Pierce Brosnan’s performances as the spy, including Die
Another Day and Tomorrow Never Dies, all received 12
certificates and some of the earlier films starring Sean
Connery and Roger Moore were rated PG, meaning that
children of all ages could watch them if their parents agreed.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) granted the
latest in the Bond franchise a 12A rating after parts of the
torture scene were cut from the unfinished version
submitted by the producers for advice as to its suitability.
The BBFC said it “advised the company that the torture
scene placed too much emphasis on both the infliction of
pain and the sadism of the villain for the requested 12A

A BBFC spokesperson said: “If they want to reinstate the
material we thought they should remove (for a DVD
release), it would get a 15.”

The print that will be shown in Ireland is the same as the
certified British one. The UK has slightly different rating
certificates than Ireland. They are U, PG, 12A, 15 and 18
compared with Ireland’s G, PG, 12A, 15A, 16 and 18.

Campbell has said Casino Royale will be darker and grittier
than past Bond films, with more character and fewer

The movie, which goes on release on November 16, also
features Judi Dench as M and Eva Green as Vesper Lynd.
The film shows Bond as a raw recruit on his first mission as
a secret agent, in which he earns his licence to kill.