When MI6 is under attack, James Bond must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the costs. The latest 007 movie tests the spy’s loyalty to M when her past comes back to haunt her. After the lackluster 22nd installment, Quantum of Solace, was Sam Mendes able to breathe life back into the 50-year-old franchise?
Skyfall is possibly the best James Bond picture yet. It is more of a thought-provoking film, asking the question, “Are secret agents and spies still relevant in a world where everything is run by computers?” MI6 tries to answer this after it loses information that puts the entire organization at risk. M and Bond must face their pasts while outwitting the dangerous villain, Raoul Silva.
This film is fueled by its amazing performances. Daniel Craig returns as superspy James Bond. Craig’s Bond projects this tough, cocky exterior, but inwardly he’s more vulnerable and conflicted than he’s willing to admit. However, do not underestimate him: He will do everything in his power to save his country and M. Craig captures all the nuances of the role, such as when he stops to adjust his suit after jumping through a hole ripped in the top of a train car.
Judi Dench stars as M, the mysterious Head of the British Secret Intelligence Service. One of the most interesting parts of this film is the relationship between Bond and M. She is tough on Bond, but we can see he is her favorite agent, knowing that he can and will get the job done. Like Bond, she projects a “devil-may-care” façade, but we can see the worry and concern in her eyes. There is also a hint of vulnerability, which is masterfully exploited by Silva.
Javier Bardem turns in an absolutely brilliant performance as Silva. He is the classic Bond villain; twisted and dangerously unhinged, with a very personal vendetta against M. Silva is the kind of character that can be easily played over the top, but Bardem dialed down his performance just enough so the plot remains realistic, and his motives make sense. There is some debate in the blogosphere as to whether Silva is the first gay Bond villain because there is a bit where he alludes to he and Bond “eating each other.”
The supporting actors help to flesh out the story. Ralph Fiennes appears as the chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, Gareth Mallory, while Ben Whishaw brings us a fresh take on Q. Meanwhile, Naomie Harris features as Eve, a smart, confident agent, and one whose name long-time Bond fans will quickly recognize.
The action sequences are well-choreographed and help advance the story. The cinematography is gorgeous, and Adele performs an excellent opening credits song with hints of the classic Bond theme. There are several callbacks to Bond films of the past, including the return of the Aston Martin DB5. Bond fans old and new will thoroughly enjoy Skyfall and will leave the theater hungry for more.
4 1/2 stars out of 5