Skyfall ★★★★

Sam Mendes’s Oscar-winning thriller. James Bond (Daniel Craig) returns to hunt a mysterious enemy that threatens to bring down MI6. Also starring Ralph Fiennes, Judi Dench, Naomie Harris and Javier Bardem.

The 23rd entry in the James Bond franchise is the first since Quantum of Solace, which was released four years earlier. Daniel Craig is back to play James Bond for the third time – and Skyfall is a significant improvement over Quantum of Solace.

After James Bond’s (Daniel Craig) latest mission goes badly awry, it leads to a disastrous sequence of proceedings: secret agents around the globe are unprotected, and MI6 is assaulted, leaving M (Judi Dench) with no choice but to move the activity.

With MI6 now co-operated inside and out, M turns to the one man she knows has faith in: James. Helped only by a field agent (Naomie Harris), James takes to the glooms and keeps track of a path to Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), a man from M’s history who desires to wipe out an old score.

Daniel Craig gives a very good performance reprising his part as James Bond, the secret agent whose latest task goes really wrong, but acts like he is determined to stop trouble from happening. He suits his role well and makes the most of the time he has on the screen.

James Bond’s grey suit = perfect!

Elsewhere, there are decent supporting performances to be had from Judi Dench and Javier Bardem in their respective roles as M and Raoul. M is the head of MI6 who gives the instructions to James like she is charge, while Raoul is the villain aiming to cause as much trouble as possible.

Also giving fine performances are Ralph Fiennes, Ben Wishaw and Naomie Harris in their respective roles as Gareth Mallory, Q and Eve Moneypenny. Gareth is in charge of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, while Qis the MI6 quartermaster and Eve is the MI6 field agent.

Keep an eye out for Albert Finney who gives a respectable performance as Kincade, the warden of the Skyfall domain.

The direction from Mendes is very good because he allows the facial expressions to be seen to a strong effect throughout, while also keeping a tense atmosphere happening as well and the script is written to a decent standard by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan as they make the movie good to follow.

The set, camera, music, sound and editing stand out best in terms of the technical aspects, because the set is decent to look at; the camera makes very good use of the locations and also captures the tense and dramatic moments well, which get the edge-of-the-seat status; the music is enjoyable to listen to; the sound is excellent as you have to listen carefully; the film is edited to a terrific effect.

The movie managed to win 2 Academy Awards: Best Sound Editing (Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers, tied with Zero Dark Thirty) and Best Original Song (Skyfall, performed by Adele, which also won the Golden Globe in the same category), making this the first James Bond movie to win an Academy Award since Thunderball.

The sound win was deserved, but the original song win I disagree with, as I don’t consider it to be memorable. To those of you who do, I 100% respect that.

The Academy also nominated Skyfall for Best Cinematography (Roger Deakins), Best Original Score (Thomas Newman) and Best Sound Mixing (Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson).

At the British Academy Film Awards, the movie won the prizes for Best British Film and Best Original Score (Thomas Newman), while it also got nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem), Best Supporting Actress (Judi Dench), Best Production Design (Dennis Gassner and Anna Pinnock), Best Sound and Best Editing (Stuart Baird).

The only criticism I have would be the pace – this can just be a little slow at times, so maybe the duration didn’t need to be as long as it was.

Overall, Skyfall is the best James Bond film of this decade, due to the very good performances from Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem and Judi Dench, along with the direction, script, tense atmosphere and technical aspects.

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