“Skyfall,” directed by Sam Mendez (American Beauty), is a dark and brilliant film that thrills from its very first frame. It breathes life into the now 50 year-old James Bond series, with Mendez creating one of its best. This Bond is smart, focused and explosively entertaining. It has everything a Bond fan could hope for, from sexy slender women to an over-the-top villain.
The film jumps straight into an urgent situation in Turkey, where James Bond (Daniel Craig) chases a man who stole the hard drive containing the identities of every secret agent around the world. Exhilarating chase scenes follow, as they rip through fruit markets and tear across brick rooftops on motorcycles. These scenes set the speed of the film, and prove Mendez is a natural at filming action sequences.
M (Judi Dench) is the head of MI6, and makes a decision that puts Bond’s life in danger. After he survives a chilling ordeal, he continues his search for the drive in Shanghai, China.
There’s a cool fight scene in a room with glass walls and trippy projections that looks like a scene straight out of “Tron.” The cinematography by Roger Deakins is absolutely gorgeous throughout.
The villain doesn’t appear until the halfway point, but still met my expectations. Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem) is a cyber terrorist with an agenda that involves both Bond and M on personal levels. Bardem plays Silva in highly grand gestures, while maintaining an air of menace and ferocity.
I have to note that all the acting is pretty consistent, and Craig comes out as one of the best bonds.
The last scene takes place in an old house in Scotland, having sentimental value to Bond. On the way there, the film produces us a moment that will have every Bond fan clapping with joy.
Bond and M take out that classic Aston Martin DB5, kicking up all kinds of memories from “Goldfinger.”
This film is well directed and has more psychologically depth than you would expect. It surprisingly reveals that Bond has a backstory, adding some darker dimensions to the spy.
There is a lot of material left for future directors to work with, so hopefully they can continue to keep this series alive and necessary.