Film Review: The Living Daylights

The King is dead long live the King, and so for the second night in a row I settled down to watch James Bond save the world again. However, this time is wasn’t with the over the top suave and womanising of Roger Moore that I waved goodbye to with A View To A Kill but rather, the introduction and start of Timothy Dalton bringing a new tone and style to Britain’s most famous spy.

I have never seen Timothy Dalton as Bond before and so, everything was new, unfamiliar and for a while almost too much. I think it’s a case that where as normally you would have a decent break between Bond films, I’ve seen 5 in 2014 already and as stated, two in two days. I’ve become used to a face, a voice and however much I dislike it, a style to the character that was suddenly gone. Suddenly, I’m having to relearn and reappraise who Bond is and how he acts, and most noticeably how he sounds.

But it didn’t take long. Mainly because my distain towards Roger Moore is well documented now but thankfully Timothy Dalton brought a totally new idea to who James Bond is. It honestly, couldn’t be a greater opposite of characters if you tried. Roger Moore felt more like the upper class politician who liked to play spy; Dalton on the other hand, feels gritty, dirty and much more of an everyday man who’s happier in a fight than sitting at the opera.

Dalton, within the first few minutes of The Living Daylights had beautifully wiped the memories of Roger Moore’s Bond from my mind and replaced them with the type of Bond I like. The type of Bond I feel Bond should be. And the type of Bond that makes a good film.

All this meant that, Dalton’s and this “new” Bond combined to create a film that as it progressed I enjoyed more and more. Everything about it screams proper spy film. It’s has a plot that drew me in and grabbed me, never once feeling as though it was unbelievable, or going too far beyond reasonable. There are no daft spaceships or underwater worlds, but rather an plot that would fit as well in 2014 as it did in 1987 and characters who could easily exist in real life. It just feels grown up and real. And even better, for a movie that is over 25 years old, it doesn’t feel dated, the settings, the scenery, the dress sense, nothing seems to have aged or look out of place. I fell into the world completely and accepted the actions as they are portrayed without question. Which from my recent experiences of Bond was an absolute treat.

Of course this is a Bond film, and so the debauched lifestyle, stunt sequences and Q’s gadgets are all there, but as with Bond himself, they are all toned down. They almost feel humanised and possible, The Living Daylights places Bond into a world where things seem possible. And that’s great.

You can probably tell that I really, really enjoyed The Living Daylights; I’d never seen it before, and honestly, I’d forgotten it even existed but what I found was a beautiful spy film that hooked me completely and left me sad that it’s been and gone as, up to now when talking about the “classics”, it is by far my favourite Bond.

8 out of 10 stars (8 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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