REVIEW: Being James Bond: The Daniel Craig Story (2021)
Five films in a span of 15 years mark the end of Craig's tenure as the famous MI6 agent. This is his final goodbye
My problem with this documentary starts with the title, giving the impression that it will provide insight on the impact the role had on his career, but it doesn’t do it in a meaningful way. With an approximate 46 minutes run time, it feels more like a vague promotional DVD extra rather than an incisive journey through this actor’s life as 007. It’s curious that in the official listing on IMDB the title includes a subtitle (see above), but in the version I watched, the opening credits simply state: Being James Bond. Well, it turns out that, in a broad sense, it’s barely a Craig’s story and even less a 'being' James Bond one.
The bait, for those who have read what appears to be the official synopsis, is that it claims that it contains never-before-seen archival footage. I suppose that’s reason enough to watch it for loyal fans. The doc is entirely based on a conversation between Craig, Michael G. Wilson (producer) and Barbara Broccoli (producer). It’s never clear if it happened during one sit-down or more. The documentary is organised as follows: a small section where the producers comment about picking Craig, followed by the 'world’s reaction' to it (press and fans) and five featurettes discussing some details about the films.
One thing caught my attention. Because I didn’t keep track of such things back in 2005-06, I was jarred to find out the harsh reaction Craig received upon his announcement as the new 007. Some of the newspaper clips shown at some point state "not handsome enough", "not man enough", "boycott the new 007 film", "[Craig] branded a 'wuss'", "it has been hard to find women willing to work with Craig" (according to an 'industry insider'), "even his wardrobe lacks charisma", "he is too short, too ugly, too blond", and what I’m assuming was no other than an Internet troll, said: "his PUTRIDLY ugly face" (emphasis not mine). Craig claims that he went online and read it all. "It was really tough. It was hate-filled", he concludes. After a fade-to-black, we hear him say: "I woke up the following morning and I went: Fuck it". And the rest is history.
Promotional documentaries like this are full of faux-praise syndrome (i.e. A voice-over or someone on-screen saying: "[Insert name of choice] is the most amazing person I’ve ever worked with". Repeat in an endless loop). This is no exception. Look, there are a few things here and there that are worthwhile, but for my time and 'taste', it just doesn’t cut it. It simply doesn’t live up to its title and doesn’t provide enough behind-the-scenes insight.
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Being James Bond: The Daniel Craig Story is available through "alternative" means. At the time of writing, I haven’t found any online store that has it available for rent or purchase. According to IMDB trivia page, it was available for free on the Apple TV app between 7 Sep and 7 Oct 2021. Just so you know, I now have a Twitter handle, so come and follow me at @9takesT for more scoop on my movie adventures!