Lyutsifer Safin: Rami Malek's New Bond Villian
Updated: Oct 17, 2021
Analyzing The World Domination Blueprint
World Domination Is Not Just A Cliche Anymore
It’s become somewhat of a cliche for a movie villain to proclaim their desire for world domination. Frankly, it’s far more reasonable to conclude that storytellers have shifted the whole world domination gimmick to more geopolitical or simply politically oriented forms of domination. Whether the villain of a film wants some form of territorial or philosophical conquest, a massive scale of global death is rarely tackled.
Part of the reason for that is there was probably no definable means of understanding what was really at the heart of world domination. Strangely enough, from what would’ve turned out to be just another of the many facially scared Bond villains, turned out to be a unique and truly empathetic man child of a villain who in a way revives the entire concept of world domination without making it border on sheer ridiculousness or the bland nature it has garnered so much infamy over the decades.
It’s difficult to imagine anyone in the role of Lyutsifer Safin besides Rami Malek. Despite being forty, the young appearance of this man gives him a child-like complexion which adequately suits his Bond- Villian Lyutsifer Safin, who No Time To Die director Cary Joji Fukunaga described as, more dangerous than anyone [Bond has] ever encountered" and a "hyper-intelligent and worthy adversary.”
Normally, when a director compliments on the intellectual craftsmanship behind the conception of a character, it’s hard not to be cynical given that they’re not the first. Although Lyutsifer Safin probably deserved more screen time, which could be just a matter of personal preference, it’s clear that the director is not in the wrong to praise the ideas he constitutes in redefining the concept of world domination within the context of a Bond villain.
A Deeper Look Into Safin’s Influences
“People want oblivion and a few of us are born to build it for them. So here I am, their invisible God, sneaking under their skin.”
The first time Lyutsifer Safin is introduced, it is what would naturally appear to be a cold, bleak, and pathetic state as he struggles to walk properly in the ocean of snow leading up to the house of the man responsible for his family’s demise, all the while wearing a Noh mask, derived from Japanese Kabuki Theatre.
An Esquire magazine article had the film’s costume designer Suttirat Anne Larlarb discuss how the purpose of this mask was to further enhance what was certainly the key trait of this antagonist and his enigmatic nature. Larleb stated how director Cary Joji Fukunaga, “gave me a few different adjectives: aggressive, but hidden; serene, but hidden; so many things, but hidden” when it came to fully capturing the fear of the unknown a man with such a distinct set of emotions like Safin carries in addition to the God complex he suffers from.
Safin’s first name alone, Lyutsifer is no doubt a reference to Lucifer from the biblical myths. The fact that he sees himself as a man capable of bringing oblivion to the world out of some notion of salvation only constitutes the magnitude of his arrogance even further. When it comes to his motives, like any great villain, especially within the modern context of a morally gray world, the cause is always a tragic circumstance he had no control over.
This type of loss only makes the concept of world domination so well suited and more properly redefined through Safin who in using a DNA structured form of nanotechnology (nanobots), aims to commit mass murder in an effort to recreate the world in his own image.
A surface-level look at Lyutsifer Safin’s plan would undoubtedly make any rational person question the sanity of his plan. The fact that he wishes to recreate the world in his own image, combined with the young almost adolescent appearance of actor Rami Malek only enhances the egoistic nature of what is a truly tormented man seeking to regain the very control he lost prior to embracing the very madness that engulfs so many of cinema’s greatest antagonists.
In Safin’s case, Spectre, an organization with WEF (World Economic Forum) like influence had his entire family murdered. The poisoning method used to kill Safin’s family left him scarred both physically and mentally enough to try and reclaim the very control he clearly deluded himself into thinking he had the right to reshape the state of the planet.
Unraveling Cinema’s World Domination Gimmick
By now, it’s clear that the whole world domination goal has been made a joke cinema can no longer pretend is truly serious. However, in the deeper analytical context of a man seeking to reclaim control, it’s very clear the there is something too thoughtful to be gained when giving that element of ridiculousness a much closer look. What Lyutsifer Safin says about the concept of world domination goes beyond the utter absurdity of its realization.
Even if the DNA focused nanotech Safin was planning to use to reshape the world in his image did exist, and even if he did succeed in killing the millions of people he no doubt felt were a hindrance to humanity’s progression, then the simple question of “what then” comes to mind. It doesn’t seem like there’s any detail beyond that.
There’s no mapped out plan of how the world would be restructured on an economic or geopolitical scale following such mass death and oblivion. But that isn't a fault of the film so much as a perfect deconstruction of the type of man-child that would think that even if they could justify mass death, they have no conception of life after, and it was Safin who said, “Life is all about leaving something behind.”
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