Film Review: Skyfall (2012)

As much an M movie as a Bond flick, Skyfall benefits from putting Dame Judi Dench front and centre to make this one of the best Bond films of recent times

“Well, I suppose I see a different world than you do and the truth is that what I see frightens me”

One of the best aspects of Bond in the Daniel Craig era has been the introduction of actual consequences for people. We’re not dealing with total realism to be sure, but rather a thoughtfulness that is too rarely seen in the action genre. Written by John Logan and directed by Sam Mendes, Skyfall is a masterful entry in the Bond canon, playing out the complex relationship between Bond and Judi Dench’s steely M right through to its devastating end. 

Delving into both of their pasts and hauling them up to account, the notion of personal vengeance as all-encompassing motive is far more effective than the fate of the Bolivian water supply. And Javier Bardem’s Silva is one of the most genuinely chilling villains for that very reason, his cyberterrorist truly compelling in his psychopathy – that climactic scene in the chapel is simply stunning on all levels.

It’s not perfect: the queer-baiting, sorely underusing Helen McCrory in just one scene, and all the business on the tube is ridiculous (it’s rush hour in the station but the train that crashes is somehow empty? And you can’t slide down the escalators like they do, there’s things in the way. And yes, I know it is a film, hehe). But I’m picking at small things cos I can – the new Q is introduced perfectly (all credit to Ben Whishaw) and ultimately, it’s just a great film, never mind a great Bond film.

Bond women

Rather pleasingly, the biggest Bond girl here is Dench’s M. Bérénice Marlohe’s Sévérine duly fulfils the getting shagged by 007 then killed because of it role, and Naomie Harris’ Moneypenny gets in on the act with some sexy shaving. But as mentioned above, it is almost as much M’s movie as Bond’s and Dench rises to the challenge with her customary excellence, following her intriguing chemistry with her underling right through to the bitter end.

Theme song

It will come as no surprise to those who know me that I fricking love Adele’s ‘Skyfall’. Written with Paul Epworth, it breaks with the dour male focus that have characterised Craig’s movies thus far and it does so in grand style. Easily singable lyrics that don’t really mean anything attached to an utterly moreish melody that soars. Old-school Bond crooning of the best measure.

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