Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The Totally Insane Ending to 'Little Boy' Has Critics Fuming The Totally Insane Ending to 'Little Boy' Has Critics Fuming 'Mad Men' Has Ended Four Episodes in a Row With the Same Shot 'Mad Men' Has Ended Four Episodes in a Row With the Same Shot First Reviews of 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' First Reviews of 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' "Mad Men" Probably Won't End the Way You Want It To. Get Used to It "Mad Men" Probably Won't End the Way You Want It To. Get Used to It The Only Oral History of 'Mad Men' You Ever Need to Read. Ever. The Only Oral History of 'Mad Men' You Ever Need to Read. Ever. Daily Reads: 'Ex Machina's Feminist Sci-Fi, Native American Actors Call Adam Sandler's Movie Racist, and More Daily Reads: 'Ex Machina's Feminist Sci-Fi, Native American Actors Call Adam Sandler's Movie Racist, and More L.A. Times' Mary McNamara Wins Pulitzer for Criticism L.A. Times' Mary McNamara Wins Pulitzer for Criticism The Death-by-Skype Horror Movie 'Unfriended' Is an Unlikely Critical Hit The Death-by-Skype Horror Movie 'Unfriended' Is an Unlikely Critical Hit Criticwire Survey: 'Star Wars' Memories Criticwire Survey: 'Star Wars' Memories The Children's Book from 'The Babadook' Will Terrify You in the Real World The Children's Book from 'The Babadook' Will Terrify You in the Real World A Writer From The Onion Totally Destroys Patton Oswalt in This Epic Twitter Rant A Writer From The Onion Totally Destroys Patton Oswalt in This Epic Twitter Rant Daily Reads: 'Wonder Woman' and the State of Female Directors in Hollywood, A Grimdark 'Daredevil,' and More Daily Reads: 'Wonder Woman' and the State of Female Directors in Hollywood, A Grimdark 'Daredevil,' and More Why Andrew Jarecki's 'The Jinx' Could Be Very, Very Bad for Documentaries Why Andrew Jarecki's 'The Jinx' Could Be Very, Very Bad for Documentaries Daily Reads: How The Hype Machine Is Ruining Movies, Why Kevin James Movies Have a Kevin James Problem, and More Daily Reads: How The Hype Machine Is Ruining Movies, Why Kevin James Movies Have a Kevin James Problem, and More Daily Reads: 'Full House' and the Dead End of Nostalgia, How the Children of the '70s Killed the Movies, and More Daily Reads: 'Full House' and the Dead End of Nostalgia, How the Children of the '70s Killed the Movies, and More Daily Reads: Why No One Remembers "Avatar," the Best Blu-rays and DVDs of 2014, and more Daily Reads: Why No One Remembers "Avatar," the Best Blu-rays and DVDs of 2014, and more The A.V. Club Picks the 100 Best Movies of the Decade; 'The Master' Tops the List The A.V. Club Picks the 100 Best Movies of the Decade; 'The Master' Tops the List The Scrambled Sexuality of 'Frozen's "Let It Go" The Scrambled Sexuality of 'Frozen's "Let It Go" Why the Unanimous Praise for 'Boyhood' Is Bad for Film Criticism — and for 'Boyhood' Why the Unanimous Praise for 'Boyhood' Is Bad for Film Criticism — and for 'Boyhood' The Unraceable 'Kimmy Schmidt': Does Tina Fey's New Show Have a Race Problem? The Unraceable 'Kimmy Schmidt': Does Tina Fey's New Show Have a Race Problem?

Steven Soderbergh's Favorite James Bond Movie

Photo of Sam Adams By Sam Adams | Criticwire November 4, 2013 at 4:20PM

Everyone's a critic, and that includes Steven Soderbergh on James Bond, David Cronenberg on Stanley Kubrick and William Friedkin on Terrence Malick.
9
Majesty's

Everyone's a critic, and that includes people who make movies as well as people who write about them. In the past week, William Friedkin has thrown an elbow Terrence Malick's way, and David Cronenberg claimed that Stanley Kubrick "didn't understand horror." But Steven Soderbergh has always been more of a lover than a fighter when it comes to others' work, conducting a book-length interview with Richard Lester, serving as a guest interlocutor on commentary tracks, and now sticking up for the most beleaguered of James Bond movies: On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

For most people, George Lazenby's single-film turn as Bond is a Trivial Pursuit answer, but for Soderbergh, it's "cinematically... the best Bond film and the only one worth watching repeatedly for reasons other than pure entertainment (certainly it's the only Bond film I look at and think: I'm stealing that shit)." That assessment comes by way of his website Extension 765, where you can buy T-shirts decorated with obscure film references, read up on his favorite whiskey, and, evidently, read his thoughts on underrated franchise entries.

Soderbergh, with whom "retirement" evidently sits quite well, weighs in at length on the film, even standing up for Lazenby's performance while admitting that he never quite works as Bond, in large part because "Bond" was still unconsciously defined as "Sean Connery." Mostly, though, he just geeks out on the visuals.

Shot to shot, this movie is beautiful in a way none of the other Bond films are -- the anamorphic compositions are relentlessly arresting -- and the editing patterns of the action sequences are totally bananas; it’s like Peter Hunt (who cut the first five Bond films) took all the ideas of the French new wave and blended them with Eisenstein in a Cuisinart to create a grammar that still tops today’s how fast can you cut aesthetic, because the difference here is that each of the shots -- no matter how short -- are real shots, not just additional coverage from the hosing-it-down school of action, so there is a unification of the aesthetic of the first unit and the second unit that doesn’t exist in any other Bond film. And, speaking of action, there are as many big set pieces in OHMSS as any Bond film ever made, and if that weren't enough, there's a great score by John Barry, some really striking sound work, and what can you say about Diana Rigg that doesn't start with the word WOW?

Sodebergh isn't blind to the film's faults, and even has a few suggestions, including whacking out a chunk around 1:06: "It’s just Bond screwing chicks and stuff we learn eventually in other scenes." But as someone who owns an autographed picture of George Lazenby, he admits he's not entirely objective.

This article is related to: From the Wire, Steven Soderbergh, William Friedkin, Terrence Malick, David Cronenberg, Stanley Kubrick


E-Mail Updates



Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome