Monday, April 26, 2010

Daniel Craig, License to Kill

"You only live twice:
Once when you're born
And once when you look death in the face."
— Ian Fleming

When Daniel Craig burst onto the screen in Casino Royale, and what a burst, I was mesmerized. But I couldn’t help wondering where I’d seen that face before. Ah, yes, Munich.

It is impossible to play Bond without being compared to all the previous Bonds. I’m guessing it’s a little like being an eighth husband or wife. So, we watch this Bond and think back on Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan… Of this list, Connery was perhaps the most physical while being simultaneously suave, though Ian Fleming upon meeting him said, "I'm looking for Commander James Bond, not an overgrown stuntman."

The Bonds who followed seemed to exemplify smooth, cool, suave. But the original Bond, with his license to kill, was just that, a killer… not just a lover. Daniel Craig has re-centered the Bond character on his true core, a loose cannon, passionate lover, with honed instincts and purposeful decisiveness.

So James Bond is back and he's alive and well. Any questions about Daniel Craig's worthiness were thrown out almost immediately as we were handed a film filled to the brim with exquisite action and explosive emotion.

Anyone who thought Daniel Craig couldn't pull it off has been proven wrong. He's done ith with style and a cold steel edge not seen since Sean Connery. Even colder, really. He's a very serious fellow, this bond, and I think this actor is surprisingly good, too.

I mentioned the film Munich. I am sure working in Spielberg's sphere was a good experience for Mr. Craig. But to see his range, check him out in Love is the Devil. (1998) It's a film that is definitely not for everyone. This paragraph from Alice Liddel on fairly accurately summarizes the story.

'Love is the Devil' captures one crucial decade in the life of the English painter, Francis Bacon, considered by many, for the half century after World War II, the world's greatest living painter. This decade, the 1960s, is reflected through Bacon's relationship with a young hood, George Dyer (Daniel Craig), whom he first encounters ineptly breaking into his studio, and whom he immediately sleeps with. A depressive suffering constant nightmares, Dyer is wined and dined by the artist, initiated into his bitchily hostile coterie of friends, and gradually neglected as Bacon concentrates on his work. Many of the astonishing paintings from this period evince a great understanding and love of their principle subject, Dyer, and one friend notices that Bacon puts more effort into representing his love on paint than into the relationship itself. Dyer becomes increasingly suicidal.
The imagery in this film is not suitable for children, but is insightful as regards this important painter. Bacon left the art world bedazzled and benumbed a half century ago. His significance is such that Hans Rookmaaker, Dutch Christian scholar and friend of Dr. Francis Schaeffer, used one of Bacon's paintings for the cover of his excellent analysis of the arts titled Modern Art and the Death of a Culture.

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to more of Daniel Craig.


Christella said...

I loved his first Bond movie and thought he was wonderful. Haven't seen the second one yet.

Adee said...

i liked Mr Craig too. for me Bond is ruthless first and anything later. and Daniel Craig has that ruthlessness in the eyes. its more than simply being an action figure. Bond was getting more n more pansied, hope he is resurrected now!

by the way, i don't like Bond very much. for me, the intellectual Holmes was the best and will always be :)

ENNYMAN said...

To be honest, I am not the big Bond fan that some folks are, but I did respond to Daniel Craig's portrayal. There's something about the way he projects himself that rivets you.

Thanks for the comments...