What begins as a big, shiny and fascinating Bond doc ends as a bitchy take-down of Sean Connery.
The big concern about Stevan Riley’s Bond documentary is that, because its release is in such close proximity to that of new Bond film, Skyfall, is it simply a Blu-ray extra that's punching above its weight?
Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 begins as a riveting exploration of the franchise’s early years. Riley edits an assortment of clips, recreations and talking heads (Barbara Broccoli, Michael Wilson and the son and daughter of Harry Saltzman) with a confident swagger, going so far as to incorporate suspense techniques that build up the screen icon’s difficult passage from the literary world to the movies with the pace of a ripping thriller.
The first act, focusing on toff writer Ian Fleming, draws from old footage and interviews with relatives and associates, including Scaramanga himself Christopher Lee, a distant cousin. The former journalist and WWII spy, it appears, possessed a Dionsyian spirit his body couldn’t handle: A close friend of the author describes the novel 'Casino Royale' as a dream autobiography.
Fleming put a lot of his own fantasies (sexual and otherwise) into the figure of James Bond. 007 was an alter-ego. It is recalled by several interviewees that he frowned upon the casting of working-class Scotsman Sean Connery.
The second act switch to producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman sets a course for the predictably bland and whitewashed. Both men are painted as saints to the cause. It might surprise, too, how poorly Connery comes across, here portrayed – near enough – as the numero uno villain of the franchise’s history. "No, Mr Broccoli, I expect you to… give me more money!"
The director’s attempt to make sense of the star’s behaviour with the line, "he was working class and obsessed with the idea he was being ripped off", is less a search for truth and more an unnecessary jab. We’re also shown Connery on The Johnny Carson Show, where he replies to the host’s question 'Who was the first Bond villain?' with 'Cubby Broccoli.' Talk about a hatchet job.
Is this just a feature length advert for Skyfall?
Fleming was troubled, Broccoli and Saltzman saints and Connery was the devil.
Like a 007 adventure it boasts a great first act then soon settles into a routine formula with questionable treatment of certain individuals.