There are many books about James Bond. Especially this fall there will be lots of titles devoted to this legendary character and its 50 years of entertaining a mass audience.
But this one you should definitely get. Because it gets the fascination of James Bond like no other book has yet managed to.
Author Mark O'Connell understands that the allure of James Bond 007 consists not only of its massive entertainment value but also of the personal connection the audience can make with these films. Since every Bond film basically is a variation of a distinct story formula, the interesting part is how every new film manages to use this formula and re-new its appeal. This, of course, always depends on the particular time during which a Bond film is made. Every Bond film becomes a time capsule, holding not only fashions and ideas of its particular era but also shaping them. The effect on the audience is magnificent: Everyone can re-watch every Bond film and re-experience their own feelings at the time they saw these films for the first time. Bond films not only made movie history, they are telling us about history. And also our own history.
This is what O'Connell masterfully illuminates by writing about every Bond film not in the chronological order of their release dates but the order in which he has seen them, from youth onwards. CATCHING BULLETS, referring to the way one had to be always looking for a way to catch these films when they were shown on TV or a re-run in the local cinema, back in the 80's when internet streaming or available Blu Ray-boxes were not an option. This structure allows O'Connell to convey the personal connection between his personal life and James Bond films. With the expert tongue-in-cheek of the accomplished screenwriter he has become, he turns this book into the touching story of his own life overcoming obstacles and staying true to himself. The result is a fast-paced book with an original take on the Bond films which O'Connell analyzes just as thoroughly as amusingly, making one eager to re-watch the films and pay attention to those details one might have missed all those years.
It is only fitting that O'Connell not only is a 007 fan since early youth but grandson to the (late) chauffeur of the Broccoli family which shepherded Bond and turned it into the screen legend the whole world is celebrating again and again. This connection, however, does not result in any PR-type euphemisms. Instead, and thankfully so, O'Connell gives his opinion on every film unguarded and uncensored, yet always respecting the work and mastery that made these films possible.
CATCHING BULLETS delivers on every level it intends to. It is a book written by a fan who fully understands what it means to be a fan - but also to have a life. And how wonderful that can be.