Thursday, 23 January 2014

Skyfall: Bond Begins. Again.

(I just found this review. Must've been on my old phone when it got nicked. Better late than never.)

James Bond is the Don of secret agents. Actually, he's so fucking nails that he doesn't bother with the "secret" part, he just strides up to the bad guy, introduces himself using his REAL NAME, has a drink, punches the shit out of some incompetent douchebags, fucks the villain's girl and then blows up a building or summat. ON EVERY MISSION.

Yes, Bond is back and, thanks to Roger Deakins' painterly cinematography, he's better looking than ever. Sam Mendes has decided to honour the traditions of the franchise, whilst also attempting to delve a little deeper beneath the armour that Vesper stripped from wee Jimmy. For the most part, it works.

It's been well noted that, if Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace were Bond via Bourne, this is Bond via Batman, with Jimmy being revealed to have much in common with bereaved Bruce and Javier Bardem's Silva being more akin to Ledger's Joker in elaborately planned personal vendettas than your average world-dominatey Bond villain. This is no bad thing, and it's always fun to see Bond lose his cool, so the raised stakes and more intimate sense of threat brings an urgency we haven't seen since perhaps Licence to Kill.

Bardem has a whale with Silva, who could've easily been another relatively bland "Nega-Bond" character (a shadowy reflection of the spy in question, just like Red Grant, Scaramanga, Sean Bean and the rest of them), attacking everything with relish, reptilian menace and obsessive insanity. I think he's the first Bond antagonist in a while to appear genuinely, dangerously crazy and not just, y'know, a bit of an evil dick.

Daniel Craig is the boss of this film, of course, kicking arse and blowing shit up as he should, whilst also managing to humanise the ultra-spook more than any of the previous actors. Craig crumpling in pain during a rehabilitation workout is a long way from Connery humping a vibrating desk wearing only a towel.

The drawback comes in the shape of a final act which takes the story off on an unprecedented tangent, delving not into some underground lair, but into Bond's past and his increasingly freudian relationship with Judy Dench's M. Some may find this change of pace a breath of fresh air in the fusty annals of Bond tradition, focusing on character rather than armies of henchmen doing judo and firing lasers/harpoons at each other. Others might feel it a case of too much information. Do we really need to know about Bond's murky history? Isn't a non-specific origin an aid to his archetypal nature?

Others have claimed this as the "BEST BOND EVER" and stuff. It's not. It's definitely in the top five, though.


1 comment:

  1. Good review. I don't think it's the best Bond movie ever, like some have proclaimed it as being, but it's definitely a step back in the right direction where Quantum of Solace took us away from.