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'Fleming' TV mini-series gets mixed reviews from US press

01-Feb-2014 • Media Alert

The new biopic television mini-series "Fleming", co-produced by Sky Atlantic and BBC America, debuted in the USA this week and the first press reviews are in, whilst MI6 contributor Ben Williams published his in-depth review here.

"Fleming" currently ranks at 62% favourable with Metacritic, but an impressive 8.2 on IMDB.

Selected review quotes, from best to worst rating:

"I've never been much of a Bond girl, but I could be persuaded by this slick yet complex sketch of a lost soul whose vengeful daydreams strangely serve as his un-undoing. He's "a hero, a lover, a brute," whose colorful adventures tend toward the callous. Just the ticket for the movies. Not so much for real life. The saga is so vividly shaded, even minor characters resonate. "Fleming's" propulsively delivered four hours end just as the war does, leaving ahead their lead's narrative writing and rocky marriage - Newsday

"[Fleming] delivers on its promise of filling in the back story of the author who created one of the world’s most popular characters, starting with “Casino Royale” in 1953. Lushly photographed and era-consistent — its depiction of war-torn London and Paris is almost tangible — it’s a good primer to a part of literary history that deserves to be told.The performances here are all good, and the chemistry between Cooper and, particularly, his lovers is palpable. - NY Post

"Despite its troublesome subject, the series succeeds, moderately, in letting you know that it knows that Bond, as his creator conceived him, is a relic, and that Fleming's pulp-novel aspirations are worth skewering: When he gives a complicated drink order, in one scene, he is rewarded instead with a beer." - LA Times

"To answer your main question first: about 10 minutes. That’s how far into Part 1 you have to get before you hear Ian Fleming (Dominic Cooper), after ordering a martini, give the bartender what is now the Western world’s most famous three-word instruction on how its ingredients are to be blended....
Mr. Cooper doesn’t have the commanding presence necessary to anchor a four-parter or the combination of charm and gravitas needed to make Fleming as intriguing as he probably was. At one point, Fleming tells his boss he wants to start an espionage unit.
“Who’s going to run this unit?” he is asked.
“I am.”
“Will it keep you out of trouble?”
“Almost certainly not.”
Coming from Bond, that would have been cheekily endearing. Here, it just makes you want to give both Fleming and Mr. Cooper a smack upside the head for being annoying.
- NY Times

"Despite the mediocrity of the whole production, Cooper functions quite well in the role precisely because it would be difficult to imagine him pulling off the gravitas necessary for the real Bond. Instead of an enigmatic figure of morally questionable international justice, Fleming is just a petulant socialite with mommy issues, ready to redeem himself and save the world. Fleming the character is Bond without the mystery, and Fleming the miniseries is a Bond epic reduced to the most generic of redemption stories." - Slant Magazine

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