Movie Review: ‘Skyfall’

By Ian Kane
Epoch Times Contributor
Created: November 8, 2012 Last Updated: November 16, 2012
Related articles: Arts & Entertainment » Movies & TV
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“Skyfall” is the 23rd James Bond movie, and is a character study of a weathered and worn former super-stud of a secret agent, falling out of touch with modern 21st Century bureaucracy and technological “progress.” This time Oscar winning director Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”) takes his place at the reins of the venerated spy series, giving us a more candid, sober, yet no-less-fun Bond offering. 

Director: Sam Mendes

Cast: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris,
 Bérénice Lim Marlohe, Albert Finney

Producers: Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli

Screenwriters: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan

Genre: Action/Adventure/Thriller 

Rating: PG-13 for sexual situations, violence and strong language.

Running time: 143 Minutes 

Release date: November 9, 2012 (United States)

When James Bond (Daniel Craig) botches a mission and is nearly killed in an action packed opening sequence, he hits the bottle and pills hard, feeling betrayed by his beloved British intelligence agency, MI6. But when he sees that the spy agency’s headquarters, including his boss M (Judi Dench), is under attack, he once again gets drawn back into the world of shadowy spy games.

The new Chairman of Intelligence and Security, Gareth Mallory (coolly played by Ralph Fiennes), is quite displeased when it is revealed that a list containing the names and locations of undercover NATO agents is stolen. The blame falls on M, whom he abruptly places on an early retirement plan. After buying some time, she puts all her chips on 007, with whom she shares a love/hate relationship. They’ve also both been deemed as having outlived their usefulness, and out of touch with the new era of cyber-security and espionage.

Skyfall boasts the usual mix of exotic locales, as Bond attempts to track down one of the more oddball arch villains ever, Raoul Silva (who is played by always fun to watch Javier Bardem). Not surprisingly, Shanghai and Macau are featured, mirroring the warming political and economic relations between Britain and China. 

The usual beautiful women show up, including the exotic Séverine (played by smoldering Eurasian actress Bérénice Marlohe). This bond movie however, is less about glitz and glamour, and more about the relationship between surrogate mother M, and her unreliable favorite agent 007. The result is some refreshingly heartfelt dialogue, and even a trip to Bond’s familial manse in the Scottish moors, where they make their final stand against the main baddie Silva.

The new stripped down Bond has less toys to play with (his famous Walther PPK and a radio is all that he is given), and Skyfall has smartly eschewed some of the more over-the-top gadgetry and silliness of the previous Bond films. Perhaps this is a sign that the more gritty direction of the series, hinted at in the excellent “Casino Royale,” is here to stay.

As the ending credits customarily promised, “James Bond will be back,” I couldn’t help but think that he already is.

Rating: 4 / 5

To catch up with Ian, follow him on Twitter @iankanwrites or visit his blog

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  • Joshua Philipp

    Sounds like it will be good. I wasn’t sure where they’d go next with Bond (really, how many dastardly plots has he foiled?) But the cyberwarfare angle is pretty cool. I loved Die Hard 4.0. I really think it gives a whole new playing field for stories.

    • Jan Jekielek

      I saw on the 8th at the IMAX … perhaps it was some sort of a preview a day before the opening? This review encouraged me to go. Loved it, but unlike what I saw on some headlines yesterday it was really formulaic Bond, albeit with a theme of ‘growing old’ embedded throughout. My wife commented how Raul, the villain, reminded her of Syndrome from The Incredibles … a caricature of a brilliant mind, deeply scarred, and acting out against his maker.

  • Christopher Holehouse

    Yea, Die Hard 4 was awesome. Can’t wait to see this one. Great review.

  • David D’Aguanno

    From reading this review, I gather that this film will have its own distinctive character. Thanks for a perceptive analysis!


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