Friday, May 12, 2017

From Russia With Love (1963)

Beefing On Bond
From Russia With Love

 I've spent quite some time since my initial viewing of this film, trying to figure out what to say about it, re-watching it, re-watching it again with commentary, exploring the special features... I have to say that I find myself conflicted with my opinion regarding From Russia With Love.

On the one hand, you have an intelligently plotted story, full of all the fun spy stuff: betrayal, triple agents, chases, romance, murder... While on the other hand, the whole thing seemed pretty dragged out and almost forced at times. Almost like the "sophomore jinx" of the music industry, this picture failed to really grab me like the first one did. It fell a bit flat in some way, and I haven't exactly figured out how.

The budget was noticeably higher than Dr No had, and this did work in its favor quite well. Gone were the thrown together painted backgrounds of a flimsy office set, and in were the actual set pieces that not only felt, but were real.

The acting of course was phenomenal, as you could only really expect from any true Bond film.

I believe where the movie mostly dragged me down was the pacing... or perhaps the build up of the story itself, to be a bit more exact. All the elements were there and good and it was never boring, but I didn't find myself really gripped into the plot until the third act. Once they were aboard the train, that's when I finally found myself actually interested in what was going on. Up until that point, it felt like an overly long introduction to the important part, leaving me wondering when and if it was really going to go somewhere.

At first, I thought maybe it was simply the mood I was in on first watch, but subsequent viewing left me feeling the same way... So I think it's safe to say that the third act is when the movie really starts to draw the viewer in.

None of this is to say that it's at all anything less than a fantastic film. I wouldn't dare call it even as low as mediocre. I suppose the term I should use to describe the story is a bit more "subtle" than its predecessor.

I do not consider this to be one of the strongest in the series as I know it, but I really haven't seen very many so far, as I stated in my prior review, so this opinion might actually change with time.

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