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Skyfall Review


Things get very personal for 007 in this high-quality thriller, which keeps us gripped even if it never gets our pulses racing. This shouldn't be surprising, since the director is Sam Mendes, known for more dramatic movies like American Beauty and Revolutionary Road. And he gives the film a deep gravitas that we're not used to in the Bond franchise, as well as coaxing the cast to darkly introspective performances.

That's not to say the action is lacklustre. The opening sequence in Istanbul is a riotous chase through the city streets, across the rooftops and onto a train rocketing through a mountainous landscape. At the end of this, Bond (Craig) is presumed dead while the baddie gets away with a list of Western spies. As he starts releasing names publicly, things get difficult for MI6 boss M (Dench), who is pressured to resign by a government minister (Fiennes). So when Bond returns, M puts him on the case, sending him to Shanghai, where he stalks a mysterious woman (Marlohe) to Macau and meets the camp villain Silva (Bardem). Back in Britain, Silva leads Bond and M on a nasty cat-and-mouse chase that ends up at Skyfall, Bond's ancestral home in the Highlands.

Unlike the usual Bond baddie, Silva isn't remotely interested in global domination or incredible wealth: he has a very personal score to settle, which means that there's no ticking time-bomb underneath the action. In other words, Bond is fighting to save his life, not the planet. Which makes the film feel oddly smaller than we expect. On the other hand, this also allows the filmmakers and actors to develop the relationships more intriguingly than usual. Most notable is the close connection between Bond and M, played with with edgy subtlety by Craig and Dench while Bardem steals every scene with his witty innuendo.

Other characters are strong as well, including Harris as Bond's spy colleague, Whishaw as the clever gadget-geek Q, and an almost unrecognisable Finney as Bond's oldest friend. And Marlohe stirs in the only hint of sex and mystery. Each adds life and energy to the film, as does a continual stream of references to 50 years of Bond movies. Some of these are subtle (a 1962 Scotch) while others get a laugh (that iconic Aston Martin DB5). And along the way, Mendes laces the personal drama with political intrigue and some spectacularly staged action scenes. It's consistently entertaining, even if it's dark and thoughtful rather than exhilarating and fun.

Rich Cline

Picture - Neal Purvis and Guest , Tuesday 23rd October 2012

Neal Purvis and Guest - Neal Purvis and Guest Tuesday 23rd October 2012 James Bond Skyfall World Premiere held at the Royal Albert Hall- Arrivals

100% Rating: Is Skyfall The Best Bond Movie Ever?

Tags: Sam Mendes - Daniel Craig - Helen McCrory - Ralph Fiennes - Javier Bardem - Judi Dench - Neal Purvis - Robert Wade - John Logan

Sam Mendes must be feeling pretty smug right now. The director of Skyfall, the latest James Bond movie, has scored an impeccable 100% on the Rotten Tomatoes reviews site.

This will make excellent Monday morning news for Mendes, as well as the movie’s stars. The cast list includes Daniel Craig, of course, who plays the lead role, as well as Helen McCrory, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem and Dame Judi Dench.

Skyfall has received a resounding round of applause from critics across the board; even the most cynical of movie reviewers seems to have struggled to find any cracks in this latest offering from the Bond franchise. Writing for the Hollywood Reporter, Todd McCarthy wrote that Skyfall “Feels more seriously connected to real-world concerns than any previous entry, despite the usual outlandish action scenes, glittering settings and larger-than-life characters,” making the movie a credit both to its scriptwriters Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan. Equally, Variety’s Peter Debruge remarked that Skyfall puts the “’intelligence’ in MI6. Skyfall reps a smart, savvy and incredibly satisfying addition to the 007 oeuvre.”

Continue reading: 100% Rating: Is Skyfall The Best Bond Movie Ever?

Picture - Neal Purvis London, England, Tuesday 11th August 2009

Neal Purvis Tuesday 11th August 2009 Premiere of Sin Nombre held at the Cuzon cinema London, England

Neal Purvis:
News Pictures Film

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