Guest reviewer Matthew Field casts his eye over the new documentary, celebrating 50 years of James Bond on the screen...

Everything Or Nothing Review

27th September 2012

In an age where documentary films like "Senna" have become fashionable and popular, it was only a matter of time before James Bond would become the subject of a big screen documentary. And quite rightly so - Bond is after all - the world's longest running film franchise and a British institution.

Just when you thought you'd heard everything there was to know about James Bond - filmmaker Stevan Riley delivers "Everything Or Nothing": The Untold Story of 007. In this 95 minute film we are taken through 60 years of Bond history - from the first Ian Fleming novel through to the latest movie "Skyfall".

For the past decade, MGM's impressive collection of DVD documentaries, have remained the definitive examination of each James Bond movie. "Everything Or Nothing" takes nothing away from these and instead finds a fresh narrative. Riley has paved a human story through hundreds of hours of new interviews, avoiding film specific 'making of' anecdotes. Instead the film focuses on three men with a shared dream - Bond producers Albert R. Broccoli & Harry Saltzman, and author Ian Fleming.

Riley has worked his interview subjects well. No screen time is wasted - and he avoids the temptation to keep the most famous faces on screen for too long. New insightful interviews with each of the James Bond actors (apart from Connery) reveal a new and reflective side we haven't seen in these actors before. Roger Moore has never been so serious and Timothy Dalton has never been so enthusiastic. Friends of Ian Fleming, including his mistress Blanche Blackwell and colleague/biographer John Pearson, give us a fresh perception of Bond's creator. UA Executive David Picker and the families of Broccoli and Saltzman give us a renewed insight into how these two producers brought Bond to the screen. The key strand to this film is survival - the belief these three men had in James Bond - and how they fought to keep him alive - sometimes against all odds.

Where the film scores most is in its honesty. Passion Pictures, who had the full co-operation of EON Productions, have allowed Riley to tell the real story - not a glossed over version of it. The archive material used to illustrate the film is fresh and unseen. Terence Young announcing the death of Ian Fleming on the BBC news and Broccoli's home movies are just some of the gems that have been discovered.

Riley uses feature footage sparingly and uses shots from all the Bond films in a unique and clever way to illustrate the film. From the moment we are transported into a stylish, moody black and white sequence à la "Casino Royale" - shot specifically for the film - you know we are in safe hands. The general public will love "Everything Or Nothing" and Bond fans ever more.

"Everything or Nothing" opens in select Odeon cinemas on October 5th 2012 in the UK and will be screened on the EPIX channel in the USA.

Many thanks to Matthew Field.

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