Thursday, December 17, 2020

From Russia With Love Movie Review

 Second up, From Russia With Love (1963):

Dave' review: 

A good argument could be made for this being the greatest Bond film of all time. John F. Kennedy was famously a fan of the book and requested a screening in the White House. From the moment it begins, with super henchman Red Grant stalking a poor expendable masked as Bond, the story is not only suspenseful, but incredibly sophisticated. The sequence inside the train near the end, where Bond escapes a near impossible situation by outwitting Grant, is delightful to watch. More than other Bond films, Russia is not only standard action fare, but intrigue. And Connery is at the top of his game.

TT's review: 

In every aspect, From Russia With Love is a better made movie than Dr No. The cinematography. The fight scenes. The sets. Many cite Goldfinger as the movie that solidified the Bond franchise, but a strong argument can be made that it was actually From Russia. I really enjoyed the romantic shots of Istanbul.

But like Dr No, From Russia is problematic. I have to keep telling myself that I have to watch it through the lens of a 1963 contemporary. The misogyny makes more than a cameo. The portrayal of the Roma people was gratuitous and insulting. And the awkward sapphic scene between Kleb and Romanova.

Of the supporting cast, the actor who played Ali Kerim Bey stole the show. Q made his first appearance, which was brief and flair-less. Donald Grant made a creepy yet ultimately forgettable villain.

Dave's response: 

I see nothing problematic with From Russia With Love at all. What misogyny? Bond and Romanova are agents tasked with seducing each other. And in other instances, 1960s or not, there is no evidence that the women did not wish to play the roles that they did. The dynamic between Kleb and Romanova added a little extra spice to the film. This is a movie that did not strive to be politically correct in any way, and was better off for it. 

TT's response: 

The greatest? Maybe. I guess I will have to watch all of them all over again for me to agree/disagree.

TT's grade: A

Dave's grade: A+

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