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You know, the guy who is advising M for a while during beginning of Skyfall wanting her to resign and such. He sure seemed evil to me and my friends and I had a debate about this... So is he a good guy or bad guy?

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I think this question invites opinions.........as it has nothing to do with the character motivation or anything such. Unless you can make the question look more like its seeking some facts I dnt think its productive. –  KeyBrd Basher Dec 5 '12 at 6:39
    
Productive is a pretty relative term then, eh? "Mr. I have 7,864 karma on movies.stackexchange.com" ? But in all seriousness. It is a very to the point question. Either he has Evil motives or Good motives. Which is it? I felt they were evil based on what I saw. I am wondering if someone has facts that can show something proving he is good or evil. –  teewuane Dec 5 '12 at 21:05
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Do you think anything in the movie sheds light on his motives?? Somehow we try to categorize everything and everybody we come across as either black or white, and forget that it rarely is so. Like everything real, Mallory(Ralph Fiennes) too had shades of grey. But really, he was a person playing out his part, no dirty motives no noble ideals either. –  KeyBrd Basher Dec 6 '12 at 5:34
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"primarily opinion-based" - Oh my, as the answers have proven that's an easy question perfectly answered by the movie. The OP simply fell for the movie's story-telling tricks. I can't see how this is closable in any way, it seems like a perfectly valid question. –  Napoleon Wilson Jun 27 at 8:41
    
@NapoleonWilson - it's not closable... but is trivial and obvious to the point of donvotability. –  DVK Sep 28 at 21:46

5 Answers 5

I think his character is a red herring: early, he seems like he might be a bad guy who wants to destroy MI6 -- but by the end of the movie, his actions (particularly during the courthouse shooting scene, when he has a chance to shoot good guys but instead shoots bad guys) suggest he is looking out for England's best interests, just like Bond and M.

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Mallory or M is the new boss of MI6 and he looks to be good guy. He even tried to save M when she was attacked by Silva in the court room. However he can easily be interpreted as a double agent or an enemy in the upcoming movie. So we will have to wait n see...

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No clear cut answer yet, so I found a decent article backing up the notion of Mallory as a good guy, set to become M and support England and 007.

http://www.hollywood.com/news/movies/44013697/the-ending-of-skyfall-and-the-series-future-spoilers?page=all

It became clear when Bond chases Silva into the M/MI-6 hearing and a big shoot out erupts. Mallory didn't miss a shot when assisting Bond and Eve. He was a good guy.

Personally, I think bringing in Fienes to play M is great, which may make the character more involved than previous iterations. Good article, hope you read it.

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This quote from the article agrees with my answer above: "throughout Skyfall, I pegged Fiennes' Mallory as a mole... why else hire such a big name actor to play the part of the government overseer placing hurdles for Dench's M to jump? [But] it became clear when Bond chases Silva into the M/MI-6 hearing and a big shoot out erupts. Mallory didn't miss a shot when assisting Bond and Eve. He was a good guy." –  Shiz Z. Jun 25 at 23:05
    
It does, however, your answer is an opinion, and not very clearly supported by evidence of any kind. I would down vote, if I had 125 rep. –  Levi Jun 25 at 23:16
    
Good point -- I expanded my answer. –  Shiz Z. Jun 26 at 0:06
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@Levi Could you maybe add a quote of the section of the artcle that agrees with you in case the link goes down in future? –  Crow T Robot Jul 6 at 19:01

TL;DR: The filmmakers made him seem bad (not evil, just antagonistic) as a plot device, but later in the movie reveal that he's good by intentions, character, and even qualifications.


"evil" or "Good" is a bit too unanswerable. So let's look at the details and shades and more importantly, how the film-makers change our perceptions of the character.

  • At the beginning of the movie, Mallory is positioned for the viewer to seem as a Lawful Evil-lite figure, because he is acting as an Obstructive Bureaucrat to oppose the goals and worldviews of protagonists.

    He is in a position of authority over M. because of his position as The new Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee; and serves as Prime Minister's instrument of pushing and punishing M.:

  • He is first introduced telling M. that the PM made a decision to retire her, due to the recent intelligence failures:

    (in all script quotes, "GM" refers to George Mallory, "M" to M., "JB" to James Bond and EM to Eve Moneypenny.)

    GM: I'm sorry to have to deal with such a delicate subject at our first encounter. But, um... I have to be frank with you. ... The Prime Minister's concerned.
    GM: Have you considered pulling out the agents
    M: I've considered every option.
    GM: Forgive me, that sounds like an evasion.
    M: Forgive me, but why am I here?
    GM: Three months ago, you lost the computer drive containing the identity of almost every NATO agent embedded in terrorist organizations across the globe. A list which, in the eyes of our allies, never existed. So if you'll forgive me, I think you know why you're here.
    M: Are we to call this "civilian oversight"?
    GM: No, we're to call this "retirement planning". Your country has only the highest respect for you and your many years of service. When your current posting is completed, you'll be awarded GCMG with full honors. Congratulations.
    M: You're firing me.
    GM: No, ma'am, I'm here to oversee the transition period leading to your voluntary retirement in two months' time. Your successor has yet to be appointed, so we'll be asking you...
    ...
    GM: :M, you've had a great run. You should leave with dignity.

    Notice that he's all politeness and correctness, but the viewer is primed to dislike him because he's obstructing the protagonists and is antagonistic to M.

  • This is reinforced when Tanner (M.'s factotum) snidely implies that Bond wouldn't like him:

    JB: Who's Mallory?
    Tanner: The new Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee. Charming man. I think you and he are really going to hit it off.

    ... and, of course, he's the patron of the woman who shot and almost killed Bond (agent Eve)

    EM: I'm assisting Gareth Mallory in the transition, and then I'll be back in the field.

    And of course at the first meeting, the Obstructive Bureaucrat archetype is confirmed, as well as antagonism, by implying that Bond isn't good enough AND that M. - following the pattern he sees in her - is making another mistake:

    {mutually greeting each other, and hearing M. indicate that Bond "passed" the tests and is back on active duty}
    GM: I only have one question... Why not stay dead? You have the perfect way out. Go and live quietly somewhere. Not many field agents get to leave this cleanly.
    JB: Do you get out in the field much?
    GM: You don't need to be an operative to see the obvious. It's a young man's game. Look, you've been seriously injured. There's no shame in saying you've lost a step. The only shame would be not admitting it until it's too late.
    JB: Hire me or fire me. It's entirely up to you.
    M: If he says he's ready, he's ready.
    GB: Perhaps you can't see it, or maybe you won't.
    M: What exactly are you implying?
    GM: You're sentimental about him.
    M: As long as I'm head of this department, I'll choose my own operatives.
    GM: Fair enough. Good luck, 007. Don't cock it up.

  • Later on, this seeming antagonistic status is sorta-reinforced by Bond guessing that the main reason Eve was sent with him was to keep tabs on him because Mallory doesn't trust him... BUT, we are being set up by the film creator for the big reveal, by letting out information that Mallory was NOT, as he was made to seem, a fussy civilian mucking about just to show his power, but a former badass himself who DOES - contrary to Bond's initial quip - know how things are in the field:

    EM: My official directive was to help... "in any way I can."
    JB: Like spying for Mallory.
    EM: You know, Mallory's not as bad as you think.
    JB: He's a bureaucrat.
    EM: You should do your homework. Gareth Mallory was a Lieutenant Colonel...
    JB: Lieutenant Colonel in Northern Ireland, Hereford Regiment. Spent three months at the hands of the IRA. (CHUCKLES)
    EM: So there's more to him than meets the eye

  • Later, his "I'm the boss and I'm antagonistict to M. carrying water for the useless government head" impression in M.'s eyes is further reinforced:

    GM: PM Has taken the position we're a bunch of antiquated bloody idiots fighting a war we don't understand and can't possibly win.
    M: Look, three of my agents are dead already. Don't embroil me in politics now.
    GM: The Prime Minister's ordered an inquiry. You'll have to appear.
    M: Oh, standing in the stocks at midday? Who's antiquated now?
    GM: For Christ's sake, listen to yourself. We're a democracy, accountable to the people we're trying to defend. We can't keep working in the shadows. There are no more shadows.
    M: You don't get this, do you. Whoever's behind this, whoever's doing it, he knows us. He's one of us. He comes from the same place as Bond. The place you say doesn't exist. The shadows.

    Interestingly enough, GM here almost directly quotes the new M. (Judy Dench) from the very first Pierce Brosnan 007 movie, when she was saying the same thing to Bond to position HER as a REMF who is all about sunshine and roses and against 007 program.

  • BUT, here's where the filmmakers start letting the audience in on the reveal again, so far VERY subtly.

    During the inquiry, Mallory transitions to a Reasonable Authority Figure - he grimaces when the woman politician leading it is grandstanding and spouting useless platitudes (and you can see that he ONLY does so when she speaks, and then turns to listen to M. with his normal neutral civilized expression).

    Then, he takes M.'s side against the blowhard politician, when she starts spouting nonesence:

    GM: {frostily, to the speaker} Might we actually hear from the witness?

  • Then, of course, he fully reveals his colors as Badass Bureaucrat that Eve was hinting he was, by first instantly reacting to Silva's attack, saving the idiot politician from being shot; and despite being shot himself, playing active part in suppressing Silva's thugs shooters and providing fire cover for Bond.

  • And, just to complete the picture that he's more of a great leader of spies, we are given the ultimate reveal of his character AND characteristics (brilliant operator):

    When Bond asks Quartermaster to lay a trail of false breadcrumbs and he and Tanner start doing it (under the table and unofficially), he:

    • Figures out what they do despite them trying to hide it
    • Gives them advice on how to IMPROVE their work
    • AND moreover, takes their side AND provides them official cover, and showing he cares about doing the right thing more than his career, with no hesitation.

    GM: What are you doing?
    Tanner: We're just... monitoring.
    GM: Creating a false tracking signal for Silva to follow.
    Q: Well, sir, um... Well, no.
    GM: Excellent thinking. Get him isolated. Send him on the A9. It's the direct route. You can monitor his progress more accurately and confirm it with the traffic cameras.
    Tanner: But what if the PM finds out?
    GM: Then we're all buggered

  • And, of course, he's revealed as the new, great M. at the end of the movie, with Bond giving his his unstated seal of approval as the boss spy:

    With pleasure, M.. With pleasure.

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I don't think there is a definitive answer to this question until we get the future Bond films. However my thoughts were that initially he was involved with MI6 & M to control what she was doing because she had broken rules and the government were questioning these.

Through the events of Skyfall he becomes aware that there is a very good reason why M does things that she does and learns that the rules are there to be broken and/or bent to protect the country therefore this is why Bond respects him and he wants Bond back to work.

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