Monday, 3 February 2014

FLEMING - To Be or Not To Be Bond

Dominic Cooper and Lara Pulver as Ian and Ann Fleming in Ecosse Films' FLEMING

And here it comes another Ian Fleming biopic released, perhaps this time to tie in with the 50th anniversary of the passing of the author, as a TV miniseries by BBC America. The 007 creator is played by Dominic Cooper, who you surely remember from MAMMA MIA! opposite Meryl Streep and, of course, our beloved Bond Pierce Brosnan, who became the fourth actor to play Ian Lancaster Fleming after Charles Dance, Jason Connery and Ben Daniels, not forgetting James D'Arcy, Skip Goere, Tobias Menzies and Jeremy Crutchley in other productions where Fleming appeared but weren't actually based on his life.

FLEMING is a four part miniseries by Ecosse Films whose first episode premiered last Wednesday on BBC America, and if there's a way to describe it using only one word, it would be "intense". It is visualy striking, with a modern editing and very well set as a period piece in the 1940s. It is, without doubt, the most intense, fast-paced and expensive of all the Ian Fleming biopics.

It has, of course, its flaws: Dominic Cooper, despite his charisma, doesn't looks like the British author that much and some situations are exaggerated to show Ian Fleming lived the same life as his creation i.e. the usual "shaken not stirred" Vodka Martini orders situation and the Miss Moneypeny-like flirt he has with Second Officer Monday (Anna Chancelor). But don't worry since this things are far more controled than what happened in 1990's SPYMAKER which was a low-budget James Bond film starring Ian Fleming played by the son of James Bond. Director Mat Whitecross, thank God, has his feets firmily on the ground.

Muriel Wright (Annabelle Wallis) takes Ian Fleming (Dominic Cooper) for a ride

After much debate of "how much of what they show it's true" trough the media and the reviews, a card right before the first shot shows a phrase of Fleming reading "everything he writes has a precedent in truth". Shortly later, Cooper's Fleming firmly sentences "He's not me!" right after his wife Ann (very well portrayed by the suggestive Lara Pulver) compares Fleming to 007 after reading a draft of CASINO ROYALE. "You as you would like to be... your fantasy," she replies, perhaps as a sort of in-joke on how much of James Bond was in Ian Fleming.

The rest of the episode shows Fleming and his brother Peter (Rupert Evans) skiing, the preference of Ian's mother Evelyn for his brother, the intense love story between Ian and Ann when she was married to Lord O'Neill and formally dating with Esmond Rorthermere (Pip Torrens) and, of course, how he found a motivation in life after joining the Royal Navy under the orders of Admiral Godfrey (Simon West). As we said before, Cooper is no Charles Dance, but he is surprisingly convincing as a young Ian Fleming and brings lots of charme to the role. In terms of production, the settings, the music and the costumes easily brings us back to  England during the Second World War. The script has also lots of suspense and it's so brilliantly executed that leaves you craving for more. Hope next Wednesday comes quickly!

For more information on FLEMING, visit the official site.

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