Skyfall ★★★★★

I’ve been a fan of James Bond for as long as I can remember. I was roughly six years old when my brother bought Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64, and it was through a mail in order that I purchased the movie itself. I would watch it everyday after school thus creating a love for the character. Subsequently I would watch the old films when I can whether it be through marathons held around Christmas time or through rentals. 

Skyfall is a love letter to the series and in a way my childhood. I’ll start with the references, the little nods the film spreads throughout are perfectly placed. My absolute favorite being the reveal of the Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger. There’s a special appreciation you’ll get from the film if you have a love for its predecessors. 

The film itself is so beautifully done. Sam Mendes directs the hell out of this film bringing out the best version of Craig’s Bond. The cinematography is phenomenal, from being able to set the mood of quieter scenes with soft lightings to the amazing fight scene in Shanghai, where the lights of the skylines painted the scene. The casino felt warm and Skyfall itself felt cold, old, and dilapidated. A theme this film presents for the character of Bond himself, challenging the notions that Bond is an archaic character lagging behind the likes of Bourne. 

The film capitalizes on something that has been in the works since Casino Royale: the bond (bad puns are life) between James and M. Brosnan’s Bond relegated M to an authority figure to be challenged, being the side character that M had been through the series. In Craig’s tenure M is just as big of a presence as Bond himself and in a way a mother figure to him. Skyfall does away with the typical Bond Girl formula and makes M the female lead allowing for greater moments of dialogue and character building. We’ve had 2 films prior to grow attached to the pair we are rewarded in this film for it. Both characters are vulnerable in this film, challenged not just physically but to the core of their being. M says it’s best when she tells Mallory “to hell with dignity, I’ll leave when the job is done.” There’s a heart to this film that made me feel so connected to what’s on screen. 

Bardem’s Silva is the best Bond villain we’ve had in a long time if not the greatest. He is deadly and methodical and intelligent. His cunningness made him threatening and his eccentric behavior engaging   His introduction is captivating, a single shot as he looms ever closer to Bond telling his story to describe their situation. Q is done well here too, bringing down the age of the character allows for better banter between the two as they challenge each other and in the end become better for it. 

The scene that resonates the most is the hearing. The way the music builds as M reads the poem by Tennyson, juxtaposed to Bond, a “physical wreck” in this film, still giving it all to do his job. It stuck with me when I saw the film in theaters and still sticks with me now. 

Lastly of course we always need to talk of the opening credits. Adele’s Skyfall is one of my favorite Bond songs tied with Chris Cornell’s You Know My Name. It is a bit haunting and sets the tone for a film about Bond and M. The graphics are beautiful and foreboding. 

This film transcends being a film for me. But it helps that it’s also a superbly made film.

Raz liked this review