In Mark Mills novel “Amagansett” the author describes one of his characters as having “brute physicality.” I can’t think of a better description of the new James Bond as played by the esteemed British actor Daniel Craig. Of the past Bonds, only Sean Connery has the requisite physicality, but even then it’s not the brutish kind. Connery’s Bond is a suave superhero who relies as much on wit and daring as on his athleticism.
The new Bond is a different breed: though he possesses a sculptured body second to none, he’s also the most vulnerable 007.Sure, previous Bonds always managed to fall into the hands of the most sinister villains, yet their imminent demise was always tongue-in-cheek—the deus ex machina was invariably just around the corner. Not so this trip. Daniel Craig’s Bond is tortured, both physically and—dare I say?—morally. And, by Jove, he makes mistakes.
And it’s about time. The recent Bond movies had become too dependent on fantastical situations—to say nothing of the gimmicky toys provided by Q. “Casino Royale”—which incidentally was Ian Fleming’s first Bond book—is more real, more contained. Dare I say more believable? That’s not to say that the action is diminished. On the contrary, there’s tons of excitement, lots of stuff gets blown up, cars get chased, people get killed, but paradoxically it’s somehow maintains its plausibility, due in large part to a sweaty, error-prone, and athletic 007.We can see the guy straining, which was never the case before.
It may take some time for audiences to accept this new Bond, but I believe they will. By the end of the movie I certainly did.
One caveat—like so many current “big” movies, this one is a bit too long at 144 minutes.
Rated R for lots of violence, one scene of torture, and some sexuality.