Everyone wants to know who the next James Bond is going to be, especially with No Time To Die marking the end of Daniel Craig’s tenure as 007. It’s the market that betting odds thrive in and James Bond fans absolutely live for. With so many names in the running at any given moment, and the favored contenders shifting at a moment’s notice, you really need to have something special to stand out from the crowd. After seeing writer/director Terence Davies’ Siegfried Sassoon biopic Benediction, I’m convinced that star Jack Lowden will be a name to keep an eye on during the next round of 007 speculation.
I’ll admit, Benediction isn’t a movie that most would consider a proper James Bond audition. [Terence Davies’ dour historical drama](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benediction(film) is an absolutely serious affair, with Jack Lowden turning in a spellbinding performance as the younger Sassoon. But in terms of the dramatic weight that the Daniel Craig era has given the world, starting with _Casino Royale, Lowden has proven himself rather well to handle that piece of the action.
What specifically convinced me of the abilities that Mr. Lowden has for the role of James Bond were the handful of moments in Benediction that his Siegfried Sassoon shares with Dr. Rivers (Ben Daniels), a medical professional who Sassoon checks in with during his stay in a military hospital. The scenes themselves depict the soldier-turned-poet undergoing evaluations in the doctor’s office. In the context of Benediction, Siegfried and Dr. Rivers discuss matters of duty and health with a friendly rapport, which translated to some very specific conditions in the world of 007.
Benediction’s scenes between Siegfried Sassoon and his physician minder felt very much like the traditional briefing scenes that James Bond and M would have in the classic run. A little bit of good-natured wit runs as a constant current between the two, balancing out the serious nature of their conversations. Jack Lowden even bristles initially against Ben Daniels’ official nature, before their two characters understand they’re on the same side. Watching that take place helped form my opinion, and it was only refined while watching Lowden navigate through heartbreak, loss and disillusionment.
With those themes representing hallmarks of the Craig era, Benediction has laid down a firm foundation for Jack Lowden as a modern, post-No Time To Die James Bond. It’s also not the first time that his name has come up in connection to the role, although Lowden’s betting odds have not risen to the levels of Tom Hardy or Rége-Jean Page just yet. Depending on when Benediction finds itself released into theaters, those odds could change rather drastically.
If there’s any sort of Martin Campbell-style reservations I have about Jack Lowden entering the role of James Bond, it’s that I’d like to see his command of the stunt-intensive action that’s usually expected. That’s not to say the next era of 007 will still rely on the sort of crane-jumping or train action we’ve seen in movies like Skyfall. So there’s a chance that Lowden might have to meet some new requirement in the future. But it certainly couldn’t hurt for the actor to nab a project like Sam Heughan’s SAS: Rise of the Black Swan, as he’d then have a pretty neat informal demo reel to his name.
But as it stands, I’m a firm believer that Jack Lowden should be in the conversation for the James Bond legacy. His emotional range is just what EON Productions should be looking for if the Daniel Craig era’s tone and scope are still to be replicated in the coming era. As always, this sort of speculation should be accompanied by the fact that we probably won’t see serious movement on this front for some time. So you oddsmakers will have to pace yourselves when evaluating Mr. Lowden’s chances at a view to a kill.
At the moment, Benediction is showing at the Toronto International Film Festival, with a release strategy to be determined. However, the 2021 release schedule is still packed with options, both dramatic and kinetic, for your next night at the movies. So there’s plenty to do while waiting for No Time To Die to finally kick things off in theaters.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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