Skyfall Movie Review
Something wonderful has happened in film in the way of taking fun action-packed blockbusters and making them legitimate critical successes. Christopher Nolan’s Batman films are the first to come to mind and then starting with CASINO ROYALE, the Bond films have finally found sophistication equal to their leading character. SKYFALL continues this new tradition by delivering entertaining action while still providing clever storytelling and emotional depth.
After surviving a traumatizing near death experience, James Bond (Daniel Craig) returns to MI6 where M (Judi Dench) is under attack for allowing the top secret list of British agents to be stolen. M clears her most trusted agent back to duty despite 007’s failure to pass his rehabilitation. Using the list against M, is the determined and uniquely flamboyant villain Silva (played wickedly by Javier Bardem). As a past agent, Silva has a personal investment to end M’s legacy and destroy MI6. Bond’s loyalty to M and his competence as an agent is tested, as he must track down the threat and defend M at all costs.
Academy Award winner Sam Mendes, who directed two of my all-time favorite films in AMERICAN BEAUTY and ROAD TO PERDITION, wonderfully weaves together interesting storytelling through beautiful imagery. While SKYFALL may not be my favorite of the series (that spot is still reserved for CASINO ROYALE), it definitely is the best looking. The use of colors and art direction reflects the turmoil and inner battles that haunt our leading man. The cinematography by Roger Deakins (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD) is SKYFALL’s biggest winner as the picture is absolutely exquisite.
While I prefer a little more hand to hand combat, the destruction through weapons and explosions in the final act are quite spectacular. But I think the film succeeds more in the first two acts with a thrilling chase scene through the subway system between Bond and Silva and Bond’s breathtaking adventure through Singapore. However, the absolute best moments in SKYFALL comes during the initial opening sequence that finds Bond fighting a villain on top of a train and M deciding whether or not to take the shot that could possibly kill her favorite and most elite agent in 007. The scene ends in dramatic fashion of epic proportions that reveals so much insight into our characters and sets up what’s to come in the rest of the film. I had chills as the new SKYFALL theme song by Adele played over the mesmerizing credit sequence and was hooked for the rest of the picture.
Long time fans will appreciate many old Bond references and enjoy the introduction and changes to familiar characters. Head of the research and development department, Q particularly is a welcome return with a minimalist approach in helpful gadgets for Bond. For my money, Daniel Craig and the new series of James Bond films are clearly the best (click the link to read our 007 reasons why Daniel Craig is the best James Bond). Craig is finding his stride returning with brute force and adding a little more swagger to the mix. This reinventing and rejuvenation of Bond is a breath of fresh air to the spy genre providing a raw realism. SKYFALL furthers this theme adding vulnerability and character depth to the secret agent yet to be seen.