‘Skyfall’ starring Daniel Craig in his third outing as Ian Fleming’s iconic James Bond, is the best Bond film in years. It delivered on what I’ve come to expect in a Bond film. Elaborate action set pieces, exotic locations, beautiful women, and the James Bond swagger are all present.
What distinguishes ‘Skyfall’ from the other Bond films is its truer sense of the characters. Director Sam Mendes, along with writers Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan has created a Bond who is flawed and scarred by his past. This attention to the history of the man we know as 007 blended another layer to the character (and Craig’s excellent performance) which served this outing very well.
The pre credits opening scene is a corker. What begins as Bond attempts to recover a disc holding the identities of agents undercover quickly turned into a rooftop motorcycle chase and a terrific sequence on a locomotive train.
Where the simple premise is not exactly revelatory in Bond or other espionage films, it simply served as a framework for the more interesting elements of the story. Namely, the film focused on the man behind the license to kill and his relationship with M (Dame Judi Dench.)
Javier Bardem, as Silva, is excellent is his portrayal of a former MI6 agent himself who had been burned by the agency in the past and left for dead when his assignment went sour. Bardem’s sincerity in the performance echoes more of a rejected lover or abandoned child more than just another arch villain.
The pathology of the central characters was certainly on display throughout and added layers lacking in practically every other Bond film. The way in which Bond rather ungracefully bore the physical and emotional challenges of surviving a ‘young man’s game’ added a fun wrinkle to the story as well.
The film is gorgeous to look at, as Cinematographer Roger Deakins created a vibrant and colorful palette while having achieved a grand and epic scale to ironically accompany a very intimate storyline.
‘Skyfall’ also offered several fun surprises for this longtime Bond film fan, none of which will be hinted at in this review.
Do not wait for home viewing to see ‘Skyfall.’ It is a fantastic entry into the franchise and deserves to be seen on a big screen.
Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that Sam Mendes is tapped to return as Director for Craig’s next outing as Bond.