Friday, 2 November 2012

Skyfall - Review

Skyfall is the Bond film you never knew you'd always wanted.  Stripped back and laid bare, with an injection of humour (sadly lacking in Solace) and with a great self contained story.

Daniel Craig's Bond, despite the 21 century reboot, is still the same old sexist cliché he's always been.  There are times when it's a little uncomfortable, particularly around a couple of scenes with Bérénice Lim Marlohe.  But the movie is questioning 'the Spy who loves everyone with his penis' all the way through, all be it a little indirectly.  MI6 have lost data naming all of their embedded agents to the quite brilliant Javier Bardem (as Raoul Silva) and are accused of being an outdated, antiquated operation.  Bond, naturally embodies all of that to perfection.

The first two thirds of the movie are classic Bond.  Chase scenes, assassinations, fights on top of moving trains, a new Q and an ageing, slightly broken, 007.  The final third is a brilliant drop in pace and style, Mednes clearly enjoying the opportunity to shoot with a new palette as the traditional 'Bond in exotic location' cliché is dropped for something wonderfully different.  It's an interesting about turn, we see Bond reduced to using IMDs against his foes rather than the usual plethora of gadgets.

Craig is a great Bond, but it's Bardem who steals the film.  It's a chilling portrayal of messed up menace.  Charming, captivating and downright unpleasant, he's a proper Bond villain.

Women fair less well, Mendes clearly wasn't interested in messing too much with the formula and you can't help but wonder if he could have been a little braver in that respect.  It's almost as if Eva Green's Vesper still looms over the Bond franchise from the beyond stopping 007 from getting involved with anyone beyond a quicky in a shower.  It could have meant Skyfall lacked heart.  Mendes and a decent story sidestep that without tripping up.

Is it what you expect from a Bond film?  Of course.  But there's a great final forty-five minutes that's like nothing you've seen from the series before.  The best ever?  Nah.  Close call though.
★★★★☆