Review: ‘Being James Bond’ – “Candid, Heartfelt & Moving” Documentary, Free On Apple TV From Today
When talking about No Time to Die, there’s a worry that by merely saying its name aloud, you’re about to push the release date back another six months. Such has been the plagued timeline of the film, originally slated for March 2020.
But now Apple TV has released a 45-minute film marking not only the new release, but the final chapter of its James Bond – Daniel Craig. You couldn’t blame the filmmakers for wanting to create another promotional vehicle for No Time to Die, given there can’t be much original footage left for a marketing cycle that’s been going 24 months. But director Baillie Walsh’s film is a surprisingly candid, emotional and worthy tribute to Daniel Craig’s tenure in the tuxedo.
Since 2006’s Casino Royale, Craig’s Bond films have always been emotional ones, carrying a weight and connection hitherto untapped in the franchise. It’s no surprise then, that the overlaying conversation in this film from producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, in addition to Craig himself, is heartfelt and at moments very moving.
We know where No Time to Die is heading – which is exactly where we know the franchise will never go – to the permanent exit of James Bond (or at least, Daniel Craig’s). The heft of this sits heavy on us as we count down the films and recount the memories one by one.
Recent press coverage and media opinion would have you believe that Daniel Craig hates Bond. There is the infamous ‘slashing wrists’ quote he made when asked whether he’d make another Bond following Spectre. This attitude is happily dispelled though, and you get a sense of just how thrilled he was to get the role in the first place – so thrilled he induced a three-day hangover with homemade martinis.
Whilst in 2015, he was perennially hounded over whether he’d return, back at 2005’s official unveiling, it’s shocking to recall that most people would have liked to see him leave before he’d arrived. There was the media scorn he received for wearing a life jacket whilst rocketing down the Thames on a speedboat. Then there was his blond hair – a big no-no for Bond fans, despite as Broccoli points out, Roger Moore being blond. Other criticisms, such as the lines on Craig’s face (something people for some reason weren’t expecting a 37-year-old to have) and his background in arthouse movies.
The moment it all changed? When a paparazzi photographed Craig emerging from the sea in his trunks. “Look at those tits!” jokes Craig on this transformative moment, when suddenly the world confirmed him as Bond material.
The subsequent conversation follows each of Daniel Craig’s films and you’re reminded of the continued complications he and the filmmakers suffered. For a character beset by an endless supply of villains and dastardly creative obstacles, the franchise itself has dealt with press maulings, a writers’ strike, broken limbs, fired directors, and finally, an ageing star.
Craig is very candid about his own body and mind during what is a hugely physical and mentally series of films. Where in Quantum of Solace, he said how his perceived inability to contribute to the script meant he was compensating by throwing himself into the stunts; in Spectre, he describes having to wear a bionic boot for most of the shoot after breaking his leg, and refusing to take the nine months needed to recover. He said how by the end of the movie, he felt “psychologically too old for it.”
For a character so impervious to bullets, explosions, shark pools et al., it’s refreshing to hear of the vulnerabilities at the heart of the actor who portrays him. Being James Bond is not the cocktail-swilling jolly it would seem, but a role as taxing as they come. Yet, in footage filmed after Craig’s final shot from the upcoming No Time to Die, it is clear he has loved every second of it. He bursts into tears as he thanks the crew and all those who have helped him on this journey, musing in his voiceover how he’s flabbergasted at the idea that he’s connected to Goldfinger and Dr. No and Live and Let Die.
Whilst the knives will doubtlessly be out for No Time to Die, such is the fanfare of a movie delayed by 18 months, one way in which it has paid off is by giving Craig closure. “I think it’s okay because we did this movie,” he says, describing the wrench of stepping away from a role he’d held for 15 years. “I think it’s alright now.”
About the Apple TV App
The Apple TV app brings together all the ways to watch shows and movies into one app and is available on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac, popular smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Sony, VIZIO, TCL, and others, Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices, Chromecast with Google TV, and PlayStation and Xbox consoles. Customers can click here on iPhone, iPad, and Mac now to add Being James Bond to Up Next on the Apple TV app and be alerted when the film is available to watch. To learn about all the ways to access the Apple TV app, view the complete list of supported devices.
The Apple TV app also features Apple TV+, Apple’s video subscription service offering original shows, movies, and documentaries from the world’s most creative storytellers, as well as Apple TV channels, personalized and curated recommendations, and movies and TV shows to buy or rent.
‘Being James Bond’ is available for free on the Apple TV app from today (Tuesday, 7th September) until Thursday, 7th October 2021.
‘No Time To Die’ is set to hit UK cinemas from Thursday, 30th, September 2021.