Thursday, November 8, 2012
The story for "Skyfall" begins in Istanbul, Turkey where James Bond (Daniel Craig) is on a mission to retrieve a computer hard drive that has a list of British agents. As Bond chases the man who stole the hard drive through the streets, rooftops and countryside of Turkey we reach an ultimate moment on top of a train where another agent, Eve (Naomie Harris), is ordered by M (Judi Dench) to take the shot which leads right into the opening title sequence from Adele.
The more delicate side of the story takes over as MI6 is evolving with Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) telling M that the British government is upset with MI6 for losing the list; and that she'll be allowed to retire. The theme of growing old runs throughout the film as a new younger Q (Ben Wishaw) is introduced as the story takes us to Shanghai, China and the discovery of who has the list of British agents. The main villain is someone from M's past and who has it in for her and is intensely portrayed by Javier Bardem.
This is Daniel Craig's third turn at 007 and every time I watch him I forget about Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton and Roger Moore (but of course not Sean Connery). Daniel Craig provides a physical quality to 007 that is matched by his good looks. Daniel Craig is an intense performer and watching the "Skyfall" reminded me of why I didn't agree with his casting in "The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo" (2011). He carries a brutal grittiness that is balanced by a suaveness that works so well as 007 and lesser so as a journalist. Also returning for the seventh time is Judi Dench who is masterful in her performance as a "Bond-girl" and after declaring it would be her last she is certainly sent off in a respectful manner. Judi Dench will always be the quintessential handler of the 00 section of MI6 as she provides tough love yet remains motherly in the film as she gets to know James Bond better than she ever has before. Javier Bardem does what he is best it, which is dominates the screen at all times as the ultimate Bond-villain, Raoul Silva. His mannerisms and the most simple facial expressions provide a chilling sociopath that reminded me of the Joker from "The Dark Knight" as he leaves you completely uncertain of what extremes he is willing to go.
I couldn't help but wonder if Sam Mendes was at all influenced by Christopher Nolan and "Batman Begins" or "The Dark Knight" or "Straw Dogs". There are certainly similarities between the stories, but "Skyfall" stands on its own as one of the most entertaining films of the year and is easily worthy of 4 Quacks. The film has an A-list villain, exotic locations and brilliant cinematography.