Saturday, 22 December 2012

FILM: Skyfall (8/10)

Why did I watch it?
It's James Bond. It's the 50th anniversary of the first Bond film.

What's it all about?
Without giving too much away, Bond returns from a period of  absence to investigate an attack on MI6 and protect M (Judi Dench) from former MI6 agent Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem).

Should you watch it?
Skyfall is the best Bond of the Daniel Craig era, just nudging past Casino Royale. The film begins with a deeply troubled Bond, warts and all, something Craig pulls off with much greater success than Brosnan (in Die Another Day) and ends with him staunchly defending M from her pursuers.

Skyfall's writers took a different approach to the story in comparison with Bond films over the years. Rather than have Bond flung to all corners of the globe chasing a terrorist threatening world peace, the majority of the Skyfall, especially the important scenes, take place in the UK with 007 on the defensive, back to the wall running out of safe places to protect M. Also, for the first time in the history of MI6, the question of the relevance of MI6 and its traditional network of agents and spies is being asked. In the day of the modern terrorist, is Bond still relevant?

The film is full of nods to past Bond films but while paying tribute to the franchise, director Sam Mendes ensures the tributes are made in the style of the new Craig-era Bond. The best example of this is Bond having a medical before returning to active service. Mendes cuts to the heart monitor screen and Bond's head can be seen moving back and forward out of focus at the edge of the shot. My first thought was that Bond was giving the doctor a good seeing to as Brosnan once did but Mendes reveals Bond is actually running on a treadmill and giving the medical his all. 

Javier Bardem meets expectations as the film's villain, creepily camp, psychotically jovial and deranged. The traditional Bond girls are kept to a minimum, as the focus is kept on Bond and M but I enjoyed Berenice Marlohe's turn as Silva's Macau casino presence.

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