Skyfall review

The name’s Bond. James Bond. It has been four years since we last heard these famous words utter from the British secret agent following the news that MGM encountered finance troubles during the production of the film.

Thankfully, all of these money issues have been resolved and it is such a relief to have Daniel Craig back on the big screen playing 007.

Directed by the Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes, Skyfall is both the twenty-third James Bond film and the 50th anniversary of the series itself.

Written by John Logan, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, Skyfall sees Commander James Bond’s loyalty to M tested as her past comes back to haunt her.

After accidentally shot and believed killed by one of MI6’s own agent Eve – played by Naomie Harris – while trying to retrieve a hard drive listing undercover agents. A jaded Bond washes up somewhere exotic and sinks into a mire of depression and drinking games involving scorpions before a terrorist attack on MI6 HQ jolts him back to life and forces him to return to London.

Sure enough, the hard drive has fallen into the hands of crazed villain Silva – the quite brilliant Javier Bardem – who is using it to orchestrate a multi-faceted revenge attack on M, causing her professional embarrassment that puts Judi Dench’s character under threat of forced retirement by her superior Mallory – played by Ralph Fiennes.

Issued with some surprisingly standard weaponry by Ben Whishaw’s Q, Bond tracks Silva to his island-based hideout, but when Silva turns the tables and stages another attack on London, Bond is forced to take M into his protection.

Once again, the performance by Daniel Craig continues to impress. Playing the character as an older, wiser and a Bond who both bleeds and bruises. He could easily be ranked, along with Sean Connery, as the best portray of Ian Fleming’s spy.

Despite the presence of two Bond girls featuring the beautiful Naomie Harris and Bérénice Marlohe, Skyfall is essentially Judi Dench’s film. The on-screen chemistry alongside 007 was first-class and it was quite touching to see their personal relationship.

And yet Javier Bardem steals the best scenes. The Spanish-speaking actor delivers a twisted and sinister performance that is a joy to watch. A complete contrast to Bérénice Marlohe, who plays the slinky Severine. Her on-screen presence was limited and it was a shame not to have more scenes with Bond.

The look and feel of Skyfall is one of the most breathtaking in terms of cinematography. Sam Mendes has that unique ability to blend some outstanding action set pieces including that chase sequence in Istanbul before the pre-credits sung by Adele, with some amusing little character moments – such as Bond straightening his cuffs after a death-defying train leap – while maintaining the surprisingly emotional tone of the script.

Skyfall definitely lives up to the hype and it is certainly better than the Quantum of Solace. The best Bond film ever? That’s debatable but in terms of thrills, Sam Mendes has directed a beautiful and thoroughly enjoyable Bond film that celebrates its history despite the reboot.

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