Skyfall lives up to all the expectations I had for the next Bond film courtesy of a clever script, exceptional acting and casting. Plus an even balance of explosive action VS visually stunning cinematography.
Daniel Craig reprises his moody, angsty, conflicted Bond, and he still manages to retain his acerbic wit and suave charm, showing both of these off in equal measure. The action sequences in this film are better dispersed and feel more real (ie: less ginormous explosions, more hand to hand combat) thanks in part to some excellent camerawork that gets you right in close as well as afar to see the size and scope.
The supporting cast, all fabulous actors in their own right, are strategically placed to revolve around Bond’s universe and the storyline. Javier Bardem’s ‘Silva’ is all kinds of deliciously twisted in a Freudian way, with hilarious quips and even more ridiculous Julian Assange-esque hair. The homoerotic subtext in one particular scene between him and Bond is not subtle at all and you can practically taste the sexual tension; which will set fangirls alight, not to mention the several shirtless Daniel Craig scenes in the first half hour. The return (or reboot?) of ‘Q’ performed by the talented British up and comer Ben Whishaw is a fresh take and interesting spin on the gadget master.
The focus of the film though is on Dame Judi Dench’s ‘M’, and an interesting examination into her past and how the consequences of her actions are now coming to affect all those involved with MI6. The over-arching theme of betrayal and testing loyalty is also done using subtle (and not so subtle) imagery and script. One of the best things about this film is there’s a strong focus on story and plot. There are levels of subterfuge here that all good spy films should have, with that feeling of paranoia seeping in under your skin.
Sam Mendes‘ direction and the cinematography are visually stunning. With iconic British landmarks and sweeping landscapes of Scottish countryside aplenty but it’s the use of lighting and silhouette and camera angles (the Shanghai skyscraper neon light sequence in particular) that can take your breath away. I really don’t want to go into too much specific detail for fear of spoiling it as there are some wonderful surprises but I will say this — Bond is back and it’s time to strap in for another thrilling rollercoaster ride.