For his latest adventure, James Bond mixes the personal drama of Skyfall with the vintage globe-hopping action of the previous 23 movies. The result is an epic thriller packed with exhilarating set-pieces and dark surprises. Again directed by Sam Mendes, the film has a meaty tone from the astounding pre-titles sequence in Mexico City to the climax in North African. And it takes its time to build the suspense, mystery and drama in ways few blockbusters bother to do.
After the calamitous events at Skyfall, Bond (Daniel Craig) has gone rogue, following a videotaped message from his late boss (Judi Dench) to track a villain to Mexico, then continuing to Rome, where he woos the grieving widow (Monica Bellucci). Pursued by relentless goon Mr Hinx (Dave Bautista), he travels onward to Austria, he confronts an old nemesis (Jesper Christiansen), whose daughter Madeleine (Lea Seydoux) joins Bond to travel to Morocco to face the shady top boss Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz) in his secret lair. Meanwhile in London, the new M (Ralph Fiennes) is fighting to to keep MI6 in operation as new boss C (Andrew Scott) works to restructure British security as part of a global conglomerate.
Mendes stages this on a massive scale, with huge action sequences that are never rushed or choppy, beautifully shot by ace cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema. And it's all underpinned by darker personal drama between the characters, so every sequence features thoughtful conversation, witty banter, more clues to the larger mystery and then thrilling action. And as 007 hops from location to location filling in the bigger picture, the film feels like all of the classic Bond movies rolled into one.
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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.”
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