Dir: Sam Mendes
Cast: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Berenice Marlohe, Ben Whishaw, Javier Bardem
Synopsis: Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.
*As always this is a spoiler free review*
At its core it is a true James Bond movie but with a lot more story and questions on how far is somebody willing to go? But also about life and death. The movie starts with a pretty cool chase in Istanbul, where Bond after a henchman of the main villain Silva played by Javier Bardem and in the purposes of getting a hard drive that has agents in terrorist group he’s accidentally shot by his partner Eve (Naomie Harris).
Bond is thought to be dead, but when something happens and the target becomes M (Judi Dench) and MI-6 headquarters is attacked, Bond comes back from a quiet life living on a beach only to find that he’s not quite the same special agent. The line that really proves that is said by the parliament liaison Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) “There’s no shame in saying you’ve lost a step,” But of course Bond is determined to retrieve the drive and protect M, which brings him into contact with the very dangerous, Silva (that’s the movie in a nutshell)
As a spy-action film, Skyfall has everything. Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Revolutiony Road, Road to Perdition) has again proven to be a master of capturing the core of a genre. That follows the amazing script by John Logan (along with Neal Purvis & Robert Wade). But what really makes the movie is that of the great Director of Photography Roger Deakins whose cinematography is gorgeous but also mesmerizing even in some simple shots, I’m looking at you China scenes. Then of course is Adele’s song “Skyfall” which sounds like a true Bond song and works great with the opening credits.
But enough about the people behind the camera and let’s talk about the people in front of it. Craig has proven himself to be a terrific Bond (do I dare say the best?) and Skyfall we see just a bit more of the man than the 007 agent. Not bad for a guy that people thought was a terrible choice. Dench’s M has a lot more to do in this than any other Bond movie that I can remember. The movie’s events do center on her and what she did in the past but it affects not just her but everybody, which is executed quiet well by the way.
Continuing with the ladies, lets talk about the famous “Bond Girls” shall we. We are once again graced with two in the forms of French actress Berenice Marlohe as Severine and English actress Naomie Harris as Eve. Severine isn’t just another pretty face for Bond to get “acquainted” with. She actually serves a purpose and it’s nice to see they did more with the character than I thought they would. Eve on the other hand is another story. Eve herself is an agent for MI-6 so she’s not taking crap from nobody and proves she can stand tall with Bond, although I wish they used her character a little more.
Alright enough girl talk, let’s get the men. A nice addition to the cast was Ralph Fiennes as Mallory who pops in now and then to remind M that she’s on the hot seat for losing the hard drive but also to make sure nothing else bad happens. I kind of wished they used him more but seeing him in the movie and how they use him is pretty cool. We also get the return of Q played by the young Ben Whishaw, okay not extremely young but compared to all the other Q’s he’s the youngest. Q is re-imagined as a computer whiz rather than guy in a white lab coat who gives Bond new toys. One of the things that made Q so interesting was that he has this snobby but charming quality to him and Whishaw makes it work that we like him.
Now on to the villain, every Bond movie needs a good villain right? Well this one has it and it’s yet another great performance by Javier Bardem who plays Silva. He’s almost like the villains of old but not going over the top with the cheesy-ness but it’s done for a reason. I don’t want to give too much away on who his character is or why he’s doing but he’s doing but needless to say it was damn good.
Now I don’t want to compare Skyfall with past Bond films (especially Craig’s Casino Royal and Quantum of Solace) but the movie does make some subtle references and nods to past Bond movies that eagle-eyed 007 fans (or at least know your 007 films) will catch and maybe at least find interesting and funny. This movie does have its dark tone elements that are done very well and not just thrown in to make the movie darker toned. The movie does have to very humorous lines and moments in there that are perfectly placed and again, make it feel like a Bond film. There is also a lot of great action pieces in the movie but do not take away the essence of a 007 movie.
Finally, if you didn’t know any better Skyfall kept like it was last hoorah Daniel Craig (it isn’t if you were wondering). Craig isn’t the oldest actor to play Bond but at times it felt like they were saying “let some young blood take over” but not in a bad way. The movie is great and while some are calling it the best Bond ever (I personally haven’t see every single Bond) I will say it is a damn great addition to the long history. No movie is perfect, it has very, very minor things that bothered me but it’s just me being neat-picky. It going to be interesting to see how Craig and crew bring us more interesting and powerful story Bond’s films but here’s to them to try
4.5 out of 5