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New Escapist Column! On the Understated Power of Pierce Brosan’s Bond…

I published a new In the Frame piece at Escapist Magazine last week. With the release of No Time To Die pushed out, and St. Patrick’s Day relatively understated, I thought it was worth taking a look at Pierce Brosnan’s tenure playing James Bond.

Brosnan is often overlooked in assessments of the James Bond franchise, largely overshadowed by the (deserved) reappraisal of Timothy Dalton’s vulnerability in the role and the (deserved) celebration of the emotional complexity that Daniel Craig brought to the icon. This is a shame, because there’s a lot to like about Pierce Brosnan’s interpretation of the superspy. Most obviously, there’s a sense in which Brosnan’s interpretation of the character refused to be tormented and tortured by the work that he did. Brosnan played Bond as a man uniquely attuned to the demands of his job, an unchanging man in a rapidly changing world. The result is a character who seems unflinchingly brutal, but who also collapsed his patriotism into satisfaction of his more personal vices.

Whether intentional or not, Brosnan’s interpretation of the character makes the audience uncomfortable, particularly the joy that he takes in violence and the sense in which little really matters to him beyond satisfying his own urges. It’s a provocative approach to the character, one that stands in marked contrast to the more considered introspection of the the two performers either side of him. Brosnan’s Bond often seems to be challenging the audience, asking whether we enjoy the callous violence and detached brutality as much as the protagonist does, without offering us the “get out of jail free” card that Dalton and Craig’s more solemn portrayals afford viewers.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On COVID-19 and a Globalised Film Industry…

I published a new In the Frame piece at Escapist Magazine last week. Ironically, it’s probably already well out of date.

In the time since the article was published last Monday, the COVID-19 pandemic has only escalated further. Movie and television studios have halted production and distribution of various major titles. However, all of this illustrated how incredibly globalised the modern film industry truly is, both in the stories that we tell and the manner in which we are telling them. These are films that rely on global audiences, and so an outbreak in Japan and China has major repercussions within Hollywood itself.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! “No Time to Die” and that Missing Killer Instinct…

So the trailer for No Time to Die, the new James Bond movie, dropped yesterday.

I wrote a bit about my reaction to it at Escapist Magazine, primarily how I was a little underwhelmed by how generic it all felt. It lacked the strong statement of purpose that defined the trailers for movies like GoldenEye, Casino Royale and Skyfall. It seems to be designed to assure audiences that all the required plot elements are in place, but it never actually makes any strong statements about what the movie is supposed to be.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.