Starring: Sean Connery, Robert Shaw, Lotte Lenya
Director: Terence Young
Running Time: 115 mins
From Russia With Love is a British film and the second film in the James Bond series. In his second outing, Bond is tasked with retrieving a Soviet enigma machine stolen by the evil organisation SPECTRE, however he is unaware that he has fallen into a trap lined with deceit and betrayal.
Now, this is more of a spy film than Dr. No. Whilst Bond’s first film was a lot more action-packed and thrilling, this film focusses more on creating an intelligent and unpredictable story line, which it does with great success. However, I didn’t enjoy this film as much as the first due to its relative slow pace and lack of action, but there’s no doubting that it’s still a lot of fun to watch.
Perhaps this is the film that really defines the Bond genre: an unexpected romance with a young woman, double-double-double crossing agents, fighting the Soviets and spying. Lots of spying. There may not be so much of a focus on action, but this is definitely a lot more recognisable as a mysterious Bond thriller than its predecessor.
One of the main reasons for that is the story. Whilst Dr. No was pretty preposterous, this is a much more down-to-earth and believable story, more about espionage and the life of a secret agent, and it’s a hell of a lot more unpredictable and intelligent. From the beginning, it’s not so interested in creating this sense of exciting suspense, but instead unnerving tension and mystery that is meant to engross you in the story, making the climax even more dramatic.
The only problem was that this film was just a little bit too slow-paced for my liking. I was expecting some huge excitement, and whilst that does come about towards the end of the film, along with an epic action sequence in the finale, this was not such an exciting or entertaining film to watch, which I suspect is due to the fact that it is a bit of a set-up for Goldfinger, leaving me often a little bored with the story, and definitely not as captivated as I needed to be.
However, this film also improves on the first by developing its character relationships a bit more interestingly. The first film is just about 007, and the other characters are just there to be cool or eye candy, whereas this film has some much more developed secondary characters who have an evident influence over Bond, which makes it just that bit more believable and intelligent.
Overall, this gets a 7.3, because although it’s still an interesting and classic Bond film, I wasn’t so engrossed or excited by it that I could enjoy it to the extent that I did Dr. No.