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Details on the Irish 15A certificate decision

05-Nov-2006 • Casino Royale

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, reports The Times.

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 category”.

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 gadgets.

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.

Thanks to `nnif` for the alert.

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