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James is a Movie Critic and Celebrity Interviewer with over 30 years of experience as an Award-Winning Filmmaker.

Explore the secret world of the bodyguards who risk their lives to protect the rich, famous and powerful.

When you hear the word “bodyguard,” what is the first thought that comes into your head? Exactly! The rich and famous because let’s face it, the regular Joe on the street wouldn’t have the means to pay for personal protection. But celebrities do and having watched this movie, they truly need it. My favorite actor of all-time, , was once asked in an interview, “If there was one thing you could reclaim from your life before you were famous, what would it be?” His response? Anonymity. Being able to walk down the street with family or friends without fear of being mobbed, or worse. And that is something I’m sure many celebrities wish they could do but in the end, they are the ones producing platinum-selling albums, or making million-dollar movies, they are being paid the big bucks because they are at the top of their game and so are the bodyguards we accompany throughout this film’s 90 minute run time.

For the most part, I do not care for reality television but I could most certainly envision : being turned into a reality TV show where each week we would follow a different bodyguard and get a glimpse of what it’s like to be in their shoes. We see movie moguls and pop stars, surrounded by an Entourage of family and friends but for the most part, you never get to see the men and women protecting them, that’s because they try to keep a very low profile, I imagine, trying to give their employers a sense of normalcy, no matter how microscopic. But when things go bad, they are on top of it, just like the secret service, protecting the President of the United States.

The show introduces us to several different men, bodyguards who have protected such high-profile people like , , , and , to name but a few. Naturally, these guys are trained in martial arts as well as tactical weaponry and while the movie never concentrates too much on those aspects, we understand going in that all of these men are well-versed in these areas, otherwise, what is the point of being a bodyguard?

Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Mandela.

These men live with their employers 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, and rarely get any time off but in return, they are paid handsomely. Their meals, accommodation, transportation and pretty much everything else is taken care of, all they need to do is show up and do their job. The film moves around from several different bodyguards and their clients and gives us a glimpse into each of their lives and while they are all doing the same job, they are far-removed from each other, with no one situation ever alike. The one story that affected me the most though, was that of , a man who became a part of the presidential security team when Nelson Mandela ousted the former commander in chief’s all-white security detail and added his own men to the mix. At one point, Rory was a member of the racially-motivated in during the ’70s and ’80s. Here was a man who admitted that during this period in his life, he was most certainly a hardcore racist but then listening to him speak about Nelson Mandela and the impact he had on his life, including the realization that everything he knew, and that was intrinsic to his personal development and growth over the years and which had been ingrained into him from childhood, was heartbreaking but also inspirational. To spend a majority of your life believing in something, only to later discover that it was all inaccurate, and to then have the courage to right the wrongs you committed in your life under this belief system, is no easy feat and takes exceptional courage.

The movie also shows us, at an undisclosed location somewhere in Florida, how these bodyguards train in hostage scenarios and situations, to, well, pretty much anything that could transpire while they are fulfilling their job responsibilities. , a bodyguard who has protected some of the biggest names in music, including , 50 Cent, Lil Wayne and , gives probably the most genuine and straightforward piece of advice to anybody wishing to follow in his footsteps: don’t! He explains that for many years, he spent very little time with his own family, instead, he was with whomever he was guarding, and got to spend holidays and special celebrations with them, but not with his own family.

“Bodyguards: Secret Lives From The Watchtower” is a must-see. It explores an element that accompanies the rich and famous and gives us a glimpse behind the curtain into the lives of the men and women who help keep them safe. The film takes us to London and introduces us to , a former police officer who, after leaving the force, started her own all-female protection agency. This was a breath of fresh air, watching how Jacquie and her team would prepare a location for a client and then show how they would retrieve them from the same location should something go awry. Sadly, we don’t get to spend too much time here but just acknowledging that there are some very talented women out there doing what has always been considered “a man’s job,” shows true diversity in a male-dominated business.

In theaters and On Demand December 2nd

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