The Movie Dictator Club for the month of December, 2010 takes me to a place I have ever been, to the land of Bond, James Bond!
Screenplay By: Richard Maibaum
Directed By: Terence Young
As the teaser indicates From Russia With Love is my first exposure to the world of James Bond. Well, that’s not entirely true, I have seen bits and pieces of the adventures of Agent 007 over the years, but I’ve never sat down and watched an entire film in the Bond franchise. It took a dictation from dallegre to finally get me to take the plunge into the world of spies and cold war espionage. Having now seen a whole entry in the womanizing ways of Bond I can say that I should have given this series a go earlier, but at the same time my fears as it pertains to modern Bond have been confirmed even more.
There’s something to be said for the era that From Russia With Love takes place in, an era that suits all of the early Bond entries I would imagine. The 1960s and the 1970s fit James Bond as I see him as a character as well as the universe that From Russia With Love helps to put forth as the world of Bond. The world that From Russia With Love creates is one of Cold War paranoia and espionage, open sexuality and burgeoning technology. Once you get past the 1970s I can’t help but feel that all three of those elements would be removed and in its stead exists a Bond I am not too keen to discover. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe the transition from era to era is seamless, but From Russia With Love fit the worldview I had formed of James Bond and his universe perfectly and I can’t see that surviving from one era to the next.
Until From Russia With Love my main exposure to Sean Connery in an action setting was The Rock, and while he is good in what may be the only worthwhile Michael Bay film, I can see now why he is permanently associated with the character of James Bond. Connery is Bond in an effortless fashion. Every little tick Connery brings to the role feels right, from the way he smirks to the gait he employs, he is pure Bond through and through. Connery had me equally excited and in a state of relaxation throughout From Russia With Love, and that is no easy feat. Most of all, Connery’s Bond is cool, oh so cool, and that is a word that could be used to describe From Russia With Love as a whole.
The opening moments of From Russia With Love really wowed me. It was a simple set-up, someone is stalking Bond through the courtyard of a mansion. But, in that simplicity the film set up how it would handle my interest in this world. The sound design makes every crunch of soled shoe on gravel an event for my ears. Every time Bond turns around I thought he was about to spring into action. And, deep down inside I knew, I had no doubt that Bond wasn’t in a lick of actual danger, but it was still such a well put together and executed opening that when all was finally revealed I sat back and uttered, “How fucking cool was that?” The answer of course is that it was very fucking cool, and for all of From Russia With Love I couldn’t stop thinking of everything Terence Young and company threw at me as cool. It didn’t matter that the story was predictable in parts, because the content of the story wasn’t as meaningful as the way in which said content was delivered. From Russia With Love is an enjoyable story delivered in a very cool manner, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
I do think it would have been beneficial had I seen Dr. No, the initial entry in the Bond franchise, first, but that’s okay, because while some of the references and tips to the first Bond entry were lost on me this time out they won’t be in the future and that will only raise my opinion of From Russia With Love. The short and skinny of this review is that I had a lot of fun with From Russia With Love. I was instantly taken by what the film was going for and I never felt the slightest urge to jump off of the Bond train. I’m still apprehensive about James Bond in modern times, but when it comes to 1960s cool, 1960s Cold War espionage and 1960s spy gadgets, I feel right at home watching James Bond do his thing in From Russia With Love. Thank you very much for this dictation dallegre, you’ve made me deeply interested in a franchise I previously had next to no interest in, From Russia With Love has been a heck of a successful dictation.
P.S.: Did you see that Edgar, I reviewed a Bond film, and I loved it, now put that in your Canadian pipe and smoke it! 🙂