The act of grooming oneself isn't usually anything to do with vanity. It can be a preparation for facing the day ahead, an act of respect for the company you keep, or a power trip, an alpha-dog ritual. James Bond's impeccable style and manners have been a high-watermark for years, but in Skyfall we see a contrasting emotional resonance in an intimate shaving scene with Eve/Miss Moneypenny - an act of submission, of vulnerability, and in turn a empowering of Eve, played scintillating by Naomie Harris.

Here are a few clips from a few other films that went against the grain, in celebration of thoughtful grooming etiquette on and off the silver screen:



American Psycho

As in the book, the opening scene to what I still hold to be Christian Bale's finest film, objectifies Pat Bateman's ablutions and evocatively hints at the annihilation of character through the worship of consumerism.



Brazil

Terry Gilliam's dystopian masterpiece imagines a bureaucratic future based heavily on Orwell's 1984, in which the impression of youth can be maintained indefinitely - at a grotesque price.



G.I. Jane

Ridley Scott's slightly clumsy gender (in)equality tale is set against the backdrop of an elite SEAL unit wherein Demi Moore's character is not just expected, but encouraged, to fail miserably. This iconic scene at least succeeded where indeed many others had not.



Dexter:

Sadly un-embeddable (god bless DRM), the now-iconic opening sequence to serial-killer-with-a-heart is a beautiful but coldly objective macro-look at the titular forensics expert's daily routine. Of course - the sub-text is just as juicy as that steak-breakfast, and sets the tone with pin-point precision for a modern grey-area morality tale.



Steamboat Bill Jr.

Ol' Stone-face was never going to easily sit through a barber routine... an absolute giant of physical comedy (despite his diminutive stature), Buster Keaton gets his hair did like no-one else possible could,



Royal Tenenbaums

Though initially you're inclined to see this poignant and tragic scene as 'depressing', it's really a fascinating insight into how we can use our looks, our style, as armour, or a form of self-denial. Ultimately this scene is readable as an optimistic 'new start' for washed up Tennis star Ritchie. Bet you never think so hard on the universality of self-doubt and the philosophical implications of how you make yourself look the next time you pick up a razor.



Disclosure: In writing this feature we approached The Shaving Shack and for inspiration they sent us some kit. This was editorially independent but we can definitely vouch for the different a proper shavette makes, pretty hair-raising the first time you try it though. Check out this little vid they made for instruction!