The Movies That Qualify the Current Frontrunners to Direct ‘Bond 25’

Chris Tilly

Bond 25 now has a release date (November 8, 2019), a star (Daniel Craig, in what will probably be his swan-song) and writers (Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who penned Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and SPECTRE). But with Sam Mendes departing the director’s chair, Bond 25 needs a helmer.

According to Deadline, there are currently three frontrunners: Denis Villeneuve, David Mackenzie, and Yann Demange. So what makes these guys right to direct 007? We’ll analyse via the film from their back catalogue that makes them most right for Bond.

Movie: Sicario

Director: Denis Villeneuve

The incendiary Incendies put Denis Villeneuve on the map, while Prisoners proved he could direct big stars in a tight, taut, thriller. But 2015 movie Sicario is the movie that truly suggests he can oversee Bond. Starring Emily Blunt as an FBI agent charged with the task of bringing down the leader of a Mexican drug cartel, it’s another tense thriller. But there’s much more going on below the surface, the film dealing with weighty political themes, and characters that are filled with ambiguity.

All of which suggests that Villeneuve could craft a spy movie with layers and depth. And with Sicario at times looking less like an action-drama and more like a sci-fi flick, it would be a Bond movie with visuals unlike any Bond movie that has gone before.

Movie: Hell or High Water

Director: David Mackenzie

David Mackenzie’s early films – Young Adam, Asylum and Hallam Foe – frequently straddled genres and defied categorization. But they didn’t suggest Bond. Powerful prison drama Starred Up was universally loved by the critics and featured a fantastic central performance from Jack O’Connell (more on him later). But Hell or High Water is the best film Mackenzie has made thus far, a modern-day western about a pair of bank-robbing brothers and the Texas Ranger on their tail.

Chris Pine and Ben Forster play the brothers in questions, and at times the film feels less like a crime drama, and more a character study of men endeavouring to make amends for the crimes of their past – a theme that recent 007 movies have explored. There’s also a cat-and-mouse element to the story as Jeff Bridges’ Ranger closes in on the pair, though here it’s played for drama rather than blockbuster bombast. And the robberies are filmed with real flair, filled with the kind of tension recent Bond movies have been sadly lacking. Meaning Mackenzie could do a fine job injecting new life into the franchise.

Movie: ’71

Director: Yann Demange

Before he made ’71, Yann Demange specialised in television; but TV that felt like cinema. Dead Set was a zombie comedy-horror as good as anything that has appeared on the big screen since, while Top Boy was a politically charged crime drama set on the streets of London.

’71 is a very different proposition – a war film that takes place in Belfast during The Troubles. Jack O’Connell (see, we said he’d be back) delivers a powerhouse performance as a British soldier who becomes separated from his unit during a riot, the film revolving around his efforts to survive the night in enemy territory, and make it back to his platoon. It’s scintillating stuff, featuring small-scale action on the streets of Belfast that’s as exciting as many of 007’s big-budget action sequences. Indeed, if they want to take the character back-to-basics for a less overblown and more grounded and believable Bond, ’71 suggests that Demange is just the man.

Chris Tilly
FANDOM Managing Editor in the UK. At this point my life is a combination of 1980s horror movies, Crystal Palace football matches, and episodes of I'm Alan Partridge. The first series. When he was in the travel tavern. Not the one after.
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