Film Review- “Skyfall” 2012
Directed By- Sam Mendes
Running Time- 143 mins
I think this is the best James Bond movie I have ever seen. I hesitate at getting that excited over a James Bond movie because I feel it misrepresents me as a film buff. I'm not a big Bond fan. I like almost all the 23 movies that have been made over the past 50 years, (this film marks the 50th anniversary of the Bond series) but Bond movies are like Star Trek or Star Wars or Clint Eastwood western movies. Fan clubs are filled with people who like those serials while at the same time do not know much else about movies. “Skyflall” was not just a great Bond movie or even just a great action movie, it was a great movie period.
Daniel Craig returns for his third time as the famous James Bond 007 and director Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”, “Road to Perdition” and “Away We Go”) takes his turn at directing the modern day version of the classic series. Javier Bardem plays the villain named Silva. With the role Bardem adds his name to the list of actors who have played classic Bond villains. Dame Judy Dench returns to play Bond's boss, and the head of MI6, M, for the seventh time and even Ralph Fiennes lends his significant acting talents to the cast as Intelligence and Securities director Gareth Mallory.
Mendes does an excellent job mixing the stoicism and innovative espionage of a classic Bond story with the temperament of a modern-day action movie which includes three dimensional characters with in-depth motivations and well developed relationships. This Bond film may be more emotional than others but in my opinion it only makes for a more well rounded movie.
The only criticism I have with the film is its idea that Craig's Bond is too old to do his job efficiently. Where I agree the story should have addressed the long service of 007, it just doesn't ring 100% true when you can clearly see how in shape Craig (age 44 in real life) still is. Maybe it's because I only know Sean Connery as an old actor that I don't think Craig should be thought of as old in comparison. And by the way, Roger Moore played Bond till his was 58 years old, where were the stories about how Bond couldn't keep up with the younger agents then? Still it is my only objection to this otherwise tightly wound spy thriller.
There has never been an Oscar nomination in any of the six major categories- Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor or Supporting Actress for this series of films. While I don't believe this is the year a James Bond movie will be nominated for Best Picture, I think Javier Bardem deserves a nod for his portrayal as Raoul Silva. The perfect modern-day villain, Silva is calculating, lethal and cold hearted but Bardem manages to convey his emotional side and we learn of his motivations that make him a more humanized, believable character.
Pop singer Adele sings “Skyfall” the title track of the movie. It too deserves and will probably receive an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song. The song goes perfectly with the classic score of the series written by Monty Norman and John Barry and is probably the best James Bond song since “Goldfinger”.
Overall “Skyfall” delivers great action and drama throughout the whole movie. There is an easy enough plot to follow and while the movie fails to shock a modern-day jaded audience, it manages to thrill and excite in every scene.
Film Grade- A