New to rental (through iTunes) is the docu-film, Being James Bond. The 45-minute retrospective, from Baillie Walsh, is being released to coincide with the forthcoming arrival of No Time To Die (2021), and offers a look back the tenure of current James Bond actor, Daniel Craig.

The movie is presented as a running commentary on Craig’s era, with the actor talking over footage of his movies, along with additional input from producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. The majority of the footage used is snippets from Craig’s Bond movies, with some backstage film and a few press/publicity shots thrown in for good measure.

Being James Bond moves its way through all five of Craig’s movies, highlighting the major milestones, developments, and occasional pitfalls. The film discusses the initial press negativity surrounding Craig’s casting (‘James Bland’ etc), the change in opinion following the release of a now iconic image from Casino Royale (2006), and the actor’s overall joy at being given the opportunity to bring the character to life.

Image: ©MGM/Eon Productions
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If you want a deep-dive documentary which gives you the nuts and bolts of each film, this isn’t it; nor is it a hard-hitting expose on Craig. Being James Bond is instead a light, but insightful account of Craig’s journey playing one of the most famous characters in the world. 

The film gives the actor the opportunity to discuss the role in his own words. It also acts as a great reminder of just how good he is as 007 – and he is really good.

Image: ©MGM/Eon Productions
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While the docu-film doesn’t dish any major behind the scenes dirt on the productions of each film, it doesn’t shy away from certain topics. Craig passes comment on the shortcomings of Quantum of Solace (2008), and also addresses the misjudged comments he made during the release of Spectre (2015), about never returning to the role.

His words on these subjects highlights an acknowledgement that not everything goes to plan and not everything that has been said still stands. And perhaps most important of all, Craig talks about his own issues embracing the role, including his grumpiness at times. 

Sure, this is largely surface-level commentary, but it’s certainly very interesting to hear. In fact, the whole of this docu-film is interesting to hear – especially if you’re a Bond fan.

Image: ©MGM/Eon Productions
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My only real issue with Being James Bond, is the visual side of this docu-film. I would have preferred something more dynamic.

Seeing footage of the films is fine, and an important reminder of what has come before, but it would have been nice to see a few talking head shots of Craig, Broccoli, and Wilson, to help break things up.

But mild grumble aside, Being James Bond is an informative and enjoyable watch. It’s not essential viewing by any stretch, but if you are excited about the imminent release of Craig’s last Bond movie, or you simply want to check back in with the actor before his last hurrah as 007, then be sure to take a look.

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