10 September 2021 480 Views

#FLEMINGFRIDAY: Being James Bond Review

by James Murphy

Daniel Craig gets his very own farewell film. Is it any good? 

 

Yes. Of course it is! Well done to SPECIAL TREATS PRODUCTIONS (they do all the making of movies for Bond).

You will have to use /download/navigate I-Tunes /APPLE TV to view the film. That was very refreshing, for me, having neglected that kind of platform / format of late. I love their colour scheme, spacing etc. It feels more elite and immersive to use the APPLE brand. That suits 007!

The film itself is literate, witty, moving and revelatory. You get to see how they cast Daniel Craig (well, you HEAR it, anyway), via glimpses of his screen test. Fact is, the man just had ‘it’: a commanding screen presence.

So the producers had an eye on him since his earliest work. Usually that would be marketing rhetoric but in this case one should believe it. I too was struck by Craig’s talent.

Yes, Daniel was a character actor and therefore not an obvious matinee idol type. But he had a distinctive look, rugged masculinity, edge and a softly hypnotic voice. You believed him as academics and action heroes as much as the flawed villain or anything else. Well, I did, anyway, and was unsurprised by his being cast as 007. Born for it, frankly.

The movie is a crisp 45 minutes or so, give or take a digit. Punctuated by clips from archive footage / makings of / behind the scenes and actual scenes from Craig’s 5 movies. Yep, including NO TIME TO DIE. No spoilers, though.

Narration comes via unseen Daniel/Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson round a table, exchanging memories and anecdotes. 

It’s a tender, warm, vivid, intimate glimpse into the creative process. ‘Family’ is a word used all too often today. But here, it applies, perfectly. Bond movies are a community unit. Yes, they are objective and professional and involve the usual share of hiring, firings, fallouts and damage limitation.

At the same time, one feels a genuine sense that if you work hard, deliver the best craft and do so with focus, drive and discretion for the brand? Then Barbara Broccoli will nurture, reward and protect your work, forever. Which is exactly what the lady does here, for Daniel Craig.

You do a get a candid insight to how big a backlash there was to Daniel’s initial casting as Bond. Shameful. But they withstood that, as a unit of filmmakers. Quantum of Solace also wins a rightly robust defence from all involved.

SKYFALL is clearly very precious, too and it’s nice to sight its proximity to the Olympics. We will never recapture that 2012 magic in Britain, alas. The team remain diplomatic on SPECTRE. Daniel was injured, badly. They could and in retrospect, should, have simply shut down for nine months, thereby also fixing the script? But that movie has nice moments.

Quibbles?

It’s a BIT indulgent to give Daniel this kind of melancholic send off? He has not died. And could still return as a Bernard Lee style M (maybe with other Bonds cameoing..no not the code name thing..just a nod to the current multiverse old actor returning craze?). I also hate to see Barbara cry, because she is so lovely you just want to give her a big hug and make everything better. But those are very minor and indeed, personal reactions on my part, rather than any innate problem with the film itself.

In short? This is a must see for Bond fans and anyone curious about the acting and filmmaking processes. Bravo! 

JAMES BOND WILL RETURN. HAVE  GREAT WEEKEND. TRANSMISSION ENDS X 

 

 



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