Four years after the release of Quantum of Solace, the new, twenty-third James Bond movie is finally a fact, and it’s definitely worth the long wait. Brought to life by one of the most acclaimed and talented directors in cinematic history, Sam Mendes, Skyfall is everything a modern spy thriller should be, and then some.
In Skyfall, James Bond’s loyalty to his boss, M, is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, agent 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.
The latest Bond film starts out very promisingly, with a (thankfully) long, super-thrilling, high-octane opening sequence, filled with impressive stunts that are both difficult to perform, and hard to execute. The end result is an electrifying action spectacle, you’d hardly forget, followed by the coolest-looking opening credits since David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, featuring absolutely top-notch artsy graphics, and accompanied by Adele’s brilliant theme song of the same name, which created a global hype as big as the movie itself.
The film not only begins with a bang, but continues to excite and engage until the very end. The well-balanced and smartly-written script skillfully alternates dynamic action sequences with equally as absorbing dialogue-driven scenes, providing the viewer with a well-thought-out plot that is complex and intriguing, but at the same time neat and very easy to follow. Even though it would be a lie if we call Skyfall “action-packed,” the action it provides is nothing short of startling, masterfully-executed, and in perfect sync with the story.
American Beauty director Sam Mendes really outdoes himself in this one. He put all his heart and soul into the project, demonstrating incredible versatility, interesting directing choices, and first-class camera work, plus, the subtle, yet polished cinematography adds sophistication to the already tasteful visuals. Set in London, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Macau and the hauntingly beautiful Irish countryside, Skyfall offers a refreshing variety of settings, and the attention to detail in the lavishly stylish production design elevates the film’s overall look to a whole new level. ‘The island’ certainly deserves a special mention, because of its spectacular grittiness.
As expected, acting-wise, the film delivers in spades. Daniel Craig is arguably the best Bond so far, and he proves that with yet another strong, charismatic performance, baring a whole new vulnerable side of his otherwise powerhouse character, making James Bond look more flawed and human, and less heroic. Javier Bardem is perfectly cast as the villain Raoul Silva, and although his performance isn’t nearly as disturbing as the one in No Country for Old Man, his vicious character is still memorable and quietly intimidating. Judi Dench can do no wrong and she’s utterly fantastic as the “tough cookie,” M. Ralph Fiennes and Naomie Harris also do a wonderful job in their roles, and the gorgeous, sexually alluring Bérénice Marlohe is absolutely captivating as the new, “ill-treated” Bond girl, Sévérine.
Clever, thrilling, endlessly compelling, and brilliantly put together, Sam Mendes’ Skyfall may be a notch below Martin Campbell’s amazing Casino Royale, but it still ranks as one of the best, most accomplished, and ultimately entertaining Bond films to date.
Directed by: Sam Mendes
Release Date: November 9, 2012 (Wide)
Rating: 8.75 out of 10
Review by: George Beremov