Sévérine is the enigmatic, quiet, soft-spoken, seductive, and troubled fictional representative of terrorist and SPECTRE member Raoul Silva in the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall. Appearing as a classic femme fatale, Sévérine's dark and sinister past is catching up with her and initially posing as a potential enemy to James Bond, she soon realizes he is probably her best opportunity of a way out of the dangerous world she is living in. She is portrayed by French actress Bérénice Marlohe.
James Bond first sees Sévérine assisting French terrorist Patrice in an art dealer's assassination. She is standing in an apartment across from Patrice, and she leads the dealer to a large window allowing Patrice a clear shot. After Patrice kills the dealer, Bond successfully disarms him and demands to know who he is working for. Patrice remains silent and falls out of the building to his death. Sévérine, now alone in the apartment, witnesses this, and after a sinister glance towards Bond she leaves to re-join her guards. Searching through Patrice's briefcase, Bond finds anonymous payment in the form of a chip from a casino in Macau. Bond decides to visit the casino and cash the chip, knowing this will attract attention and bring him closer to Patrice's employer.
Knowing the previous assassination has been compromised by Bond, Sévérine awaits Bond's arrival at the casino to claim the money that belonged to Patrice. Bond spots Sévérine leaning against a staircase banister; she sees him and informs her guards she'll deal with him herself. Joining Bond on the casino floor, Sévérine teases Bond for a drink to which Bond accepts her offer.
Becoming acquainted, the pair sit at the bar, while being watched by her guards. After briefly trying to outsmart one another Bond reveals his true motives: he wants to meet her employer. Suddenly, a new side to Sévérine is displayed. She warns him to be careful of what he wishes for and as she goes to leave, Bond pulls her back. Bond sees from her wrist tattoo that she was a victim of the Macau sex trade, and determines she was rescued by her employer and now works as his representative. Promising to help her escape being her employer's captive, Bond asks Sévérine to join forces and allow him to find the man in the shadows.
Trusting Bond, she warns him her guards plan to kill him. She tells him that if he is to survive, he will find her on the Chimera, her yacht, where they will sail to Silva's base.
At Sea on the Chimera
Setting sail for Silva's base, Sévérine seems disappointed that Bond hasn't made it out of the casino alive. She soon discovers he has in fact survived and hidden on board when he joins her in the shower. In the morning, Sévérine watches in fear as they approach Silva's base on Dead Island. Bond joins her on the deck. As she tells him it's not too late to turn back, the men on the boat hold them at gunpoint; Bond fully well knowing that this won't be the case.
Raoul Silva's Island
The pair now handcuffed, Bond and Sévérine are now escorted through the derelict streets of the abandoned island to which Sévérine informs Bond was once the home to many, until Silva made them believe there was a leak at the local chemical plant causing them all to flee. Knowing Silva's ways, Sévérine warns Bond that he always gets what he wants in the end. Bond is taken to meet Silva while Sévérine is beaten for her defection.
Following Silva's interrogation, Bond is taken outside to find Sévérine bloodied and bound to a collapsed statue. A French pre-war song, Boum! by singer/songwriter Charles Trenet, ironically plays over the island's loudspeakers. After carefully placing a shot glass of scotch on Sévérine's head, Silva hands Bond an antique Percussion Cap Pistol and challenges him to shoot the glass off her head - a sadistic opportunity to improve his recent, sub-par marksmanship scores.
- "Oh I can't believe it... I can't believe it. Did you really die that day? Is there any - any - of the old 007 left?"
- ― Silva laments Bond's hesitation and shaky trigger hand.
Bond misses far to her left but Silva shoots her squarely in the head, killing her.
- Sévérine (as well as the stolen hard-drive) acts as the films MacGuffin (commonly explored in many Hitchcock films); after discussing her dark past with Bond we are led to believe that part of the narrative will include Bond rescuing her from the hands of Silva however this is merely a plot device to introduce Bond to Silva.
- Marlohe described her character as being "glamorous and enigmatic", and that she drew inspiration from GoldenEye villain Xenia Onatopp (played by Famke Janssen) in playing Sévérine.
- While it can be argued that Sévérine is not a true villain, she does help Patrice in the assassination of the art dealer and, upon Bond grabbing her by the arm at the bar, she was prepared to let her guards kill Bond. She also joins forces with Bond not to save the world and stop Silva's evil plans, as most other redeemed Bond girls, but instead simply to free herself of Silva. However as a slave to Silva, knowing that she would be killed if she ever betrays him, her actions are all coerced. In fact, when she does decide to stop acting as Silva's henchwoman, her fears turn out to be well founded. It is also unlikely that the beating she receives from Silva on his island is her first. Much more likely that she has been beaten into submission, and even attempting to disobey Silva shows remarkable courage.
- Sévérine is essentially an anti-heroine Bond Girl; similar to May Day from A View to a Kill and Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, however, unlike them, Severine was already sold to Silva as a slave, and never had any actual loyalty to Silva, and did not come to Silva of her own free will. Bond notes the mark of a slave girl tattooed on her back. Her desire to help Bond comes mostly from her desire to be free of Silva, which is to be expected, as any slave would have their own freedom as their dearest goal.
- One of a few Bond Girls who first becomes aquainted with Bond in a casino. Others from the franchise include Sylvia Trench from Dr. No, Teresa Di Vicenzo from On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Plenty O'Toole from Diamonds Are Forever, Lisl von Schlaf from For Your Eyes Only and Solange Dimitrios from Casino Royale.
- Sévérine is the first leading (exempting secondary or supporting) Bond Girl to be killed by the hands of the main villain.
- Her name and role as a sex slave is a reference to Sévérine, the dominated character in the novel Venus in Furs that allows himself to become a slave to the object of his affections.
- She is one of four leading Bond girls to be affiliated in some way with SPECTRE. Though her connection was indirectly through Silva. The others are Tatiana Romanova, who was an unwitting/unknowing employee of SPECTRE, Tiffany Case, who was a diamond smuggler for Ernst Stavro Blofeld, and Vesper Lynd, who was SPECTRE member and Mr. White's henchwoman.
- In Spectre, all the characters affiliated with the organisation are referenced in the opening title sequance. Sévérine and Bond's shower scene is included; the pair being wrapped in octopus tentacles as they kiss.
- Sévérine's character showcases one of the darkest and most unsettling Bond Girl stories shown on screen, one that includes child prostitution, abuse and entrapment. Some say her character development is one close to a traditional Fleming Bond Girl, explored in his novels.
- Sévérine is the fourteenth woman that Bond does not succeed to protect from death, in the Bond films and the fourth in the reboot.
- ↑ ‘’see trivia’’
- ↑ Macnab, Geoffrey. "Bond 23's title confirmed as Skyfall", 3 November 2011.
- ↑ Simon Reynolds and Tom Mansell (26 March 2012). 'Skyfall': Bérénice Marlohe talks Bond girl Severine – video – Movies News. Digital Spy. Retrieved on 5 April 2012.