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| 7 July 2017 | Reply

Luna Cinemas, Leederville, Perth, Western Australia – 6 July, 2017
Written & Directed by Josh Greenbaum
Starring George Lazenby, Josh Lawson
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

The twentieth Rev International Film Festival kicked off in fine style with a great turnout eager to be in the presence of a true underrated great: Australia’s only James Bond, and the only James Bond to have turned down repeating his performance in the role – George Lazenby.

The scene was set with projections onto the exterior of Leederville’s classic Luna Cinema building, martini and rum shots inside the theatre warming those who made it in from the wild, wet weather outside, keynote guest George Lazenby himself, still devastatingly handsome at 78 years old, and as entertaining and spiritual Welcome To Country as we’ve ever witnessed to open proceedings.

The film itself has been made with style and skill by writer/director Josh Greenbaum, who cut his teeth filming short features such as Kristin Wiig’s Global Warming Solution and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Guide To Blowing Shit Up – and, in a nice piece of synchronicity, the Aston Martin featurette of early this year with Daniel Craig and puppies. He brings the same energy and sense of style to Lazenby’s story.

The Australian actor narrates his own story on screen, his interview with Greenbaum intercut with re-enactments of scenes from his tales. Hoges’ Josh Lawson makes good as the younger Lazenby, all cheeky larrikin charm, beguiling smile and charismatic confidence.

We follow Lazenby’s childhood, his discovery of one of his prime inspirations – girls, through becoming a car mechanic, then a used car salesman, a model, a reknowned swordsman, and – without ever having acted a day in his life – star of the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

The story is fascinating, Lazenby’s tales hilarious and touching, and if it seems unbelievable, in his own words, “of course it’s all true – how else could I remember it?”

We’re allowed to see the fragility and regrets of the man as they seep through the cracks in his overwhelming confidence, and Greenbaum wisely chooses not to re-enact most of the immediate post-Bond fallout, showing the action via real interview footage from the time.

If there’s a fault here, it’s that Lazenby’s post-Bond life is glossed over: there’s no mention of the movies he made in Hong Kong, including acknowledged B-movie classic The Man From Hong Kong, but the film’s focus is firm and his younger life and the Bond-era is flawless.

A must-see for any Bond fan, movie buff, or anyone who fancies a larger-than-life story about a man whose career was and is simply too amazing to be anything other than (mostly) true.

Post-film, Lazenby took part in a short Q+A session, where he flirted good-naturedly with the crowd and elaborated on some of the pivotal moments in his life, and talked more about his post-Bond career as a family man and those Hong Kong films and meeting Bruce Lee. What a treat!

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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