“Where the bloody hell have you been?” … “Enjoying death”… “007 reporting for duty.”
Set against the backdrop of London, Skyfall sees a darker, grittier and more realistic James Bond drama unfold. Pacing with uncertainty around her MI6 office, Dame Judi Dench’s M calls the shots that lead to Bond being put in grave danger. Nowhere to be seen and let go from M16, Bond makes a heroic return from Istanbul to serve his country. How quintessentially British! (and after all, who would kill off Bond within the first 20 minutes?)
Javier Bardem, most notable for roles in No Country for Old Men and Vicky Christina Barcelona plays cheeky and kinky villain, Raoul Silva who literally strokes Bond’s ego, but to comedic effect. From learning the script in his national language of Spanish, to his sexual innuendos with Craig, Bardem adds fun and flair to a usually colourless role. And then there’s Ralph Fiennes, part of the MI6 furniture, who comes to play an agonisingly crucial role in the downfall of M.
In the modern age of technology, shadows can lurk undercover and when it comes to Human Intelligence, what was once transparent has become opaque behind a computer screen. So what then is to become of good old fashioned espionage…is it long gone? So we might be lead to believe. Skyfall presents a Bond struggling to keep up with the kids and their fancy artillery. Ben Wishaw, Bond’s younger operative ‘geek la chic’ embodies the new era of espionage – fighting villains with computer hacking. But what then for Bond?
Whether it’s Dame Judi Dench’s character M being threatened with retirement or Bond failing his fitness test, age forms a major theme throughout the film. Skyfall, however, doesn’t disappoint, with Sam Mendes’ direction adhering to the standard James Bond recipe of explosive action scenes, fast cars, love interests and classic one liners. If Die Hard and Batman had a lovechild it would be Skyfall. Mendes even ensures a truly explosive ending by revisiting Bond’s childhood past, leading to Bardem and Craig battling it out in the countryside.
Snazzy, brightly lit battle sequences in Shanghai propel Bond into the 21st century making it a lot sexier than its predecessor, Quantum of Solace. Bond and M may be part of the outdated MI6, but neither is prepared to give up the day job for the desk. Adele’s sultry soundtrack and Daniel Craig looking dapper in Tom Ford suits – what a classy way to pay tribute to 50 years of Bond.