Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming (1990) starring Jason Connery, Kristin Scott Thomas, Joss Ackland, Patricia Hodge, David Warner, Colin Welland, Fiona Fullerton, Richard Johnson directed by Ferdinand Fairfax Movie Review

Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming (1990)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Jason Connery in Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming (1990)

The Making of Bond

I once read somewhere that writer of the James Bond novels, Ian Fleming, based some of his famous agent's adventures on his own experiences. And what little I know of Fleming it would make sense, such as being a bit of a womanizer in his younger years which contributed to why he never finished at Eton or never completed his military training. But when it comes to the made for TV biopic "Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming" it feels like the writers have gone another step and dramatized Fleming's life with inspiration from the bond movies.

What this means is that suddenly we are watching Ian Fleming as if he was Bond, smartly dressed, dashing, a terrible flirt and so on. But we also get other nods to the Bond movies such as a secretary at Reuters not only telling him to "Do be careful" just like Moneypenny but she also throws his hat on to the hat stand. It leads you to wonder whether Moneypenny was based on this secretary who actually said or did those things or whether the influence of Bond is forced in to the movie.

Kristin Scott Thomas in Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming (1990)

The trouble is that this really muddies the waters between fact and fiction to the point that I surrendered and took "The Secret Life of Ian Fleming" as less of a biography and more something closer to a James Bond Jr. movie with the object being to entertain with all the nods to the classic James Bond movies. When you do so it is entertaining but also really over the top with many of those nods to Bond coming across as cheesy.

As of the casting of Jason Connery as Fleming well it works because he plays him with plenty of British charm but not to the point that he is debonair in the way of Bond. Yet you can't help but think Bond especially with all those nods and of course the fact we are talking the best Bond, Sean Connery's son.

What this all boils down to is that "The Secret Life of Ian Fleming" feels like someone has tried to turn Fleming's story into something like a Bond junior. It muddies the water so much that not only is it hard to know where the facts stop and the fiction starts but occasionally feels cheesy by trying to make Fleming out as if he was James Bond.