Proof Review: Skyfall (2012)

Release Date
November 9, 2012
Director
Sam Mendes
Screenplay
Neal Purvis
Robert Wade
John Logan
Based On A Novel By
Ian Fleming
Cinematography By
Roger A. Deakins
Distributed By
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Sony Pictures
Columbia Pictures
Budget
$200 million
Action, Adventure, Thriller
Rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language and smoking
143 minutes

007: Skyfall

What I would consider the best James Bond film yet, “Skyfall” does for the 007 series, what “The Dark Knight” did for the Batman series. The genius poured in to Christopher Nolan’s Batman turned an entire generation onto a character that was otherwise considered solely for comic book aficionados. “Skyfall” takes the whimsical, two-dimensional James Bond and gives him a depth unseen in the 50 years of cinema’s 007.

Daniel Craig officially proves to me that he is the Bond to beat all Bonds. He carries himself in a way that reflects every actor that harnessed the role before him, especially challenging the cold demeanor of Timothy Dalton, while producing a depth unseen in any prior portrayal of the iconic character. Craig’s Bond is often not the “best” at what he does, but achieves what he can with what he is given. Though he has less gadgets than previous Bonds, he relies more on his instinct and scrappy nature to get him through to the end, rather than exploding pens. In “Skyfall”, we are taken to a place most viewers never would imagine, as Bond often feels like the “cool guy” we all know and love, who couldn’t possible have any problems or baggage. In the 22 films prior to this, I never once found myself asking where James Bond came from or where he grew up, but “Skyfall” takes you on the first real journey into his past.

Javier Bardem resurrects the spirit of his “No Country For Old Men” villain in his performance of Silva, an ex-agent, now seeking revenge on MI6, mainly on M (Judi Dench), the head of the 00’s. Bardem channels a flamboyant, yet Hannibal Lector-esc villain, with obvious psychological issues driving his revenge. Top off the cast with a new Q in the brilliantly talented Ben Whishaw, who will hopefully continue his journey with the franchise, and a subtle yet exciting performance from Ralph Fiennes, as Gareth Mallory, and “Skyfall” produces some of the best performances to-date.

“Skyfall” dares to tone the film down to a personal level, where the stakes are no longer the entire world, but remain much closer to the heart. 007 is given a renewed sense of importance, with an inner dialogue of whether the 00’s are even relevant in our current culture. With less action sequences than your normal Bond film, emotion pours out of this film, helped wholly by the stunning cinematography from Roger Deakins, with highlights including the reveal of Bardem’s character in a long take, as he walks from far away to right in front a captured Daniel Craig, along with the captivating screenplay, with much more emotion and much more invested than previous installments.

What feels like an unofficial reboot to the franchise, any level of Bond fanboy will be enthralled by the multiple layers of past Bond references, while experiencing something so new and refreshing in this 50 year old franchise. “Skyfall” protects the longevity of the series by inserting a reinvigorated feel, even compared to Craig’s previous performances in “Casino Royale” and “Quantum Of Solace”. If the franchise continues to build on this 23rd Bond film, in much the same way, we could be looking at these films just as we do Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, as something unexpected and something we never knew we needed until it was given to us.

 

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