James Bond is truly back in this 50th anniversary outing for the British spy. Make no mistake, this is the Bond that Fleming wrote rather than the post Connery action adventure hero we have had pushed on us. Here we have a late career Bond who is at times almost introspective and certainly engaged in a little existential angst.
The other big difference is our Bond girl. While we have a token sexy scene with the attractive agent on our side and another with the villain’s girl the key woman in this Bond movie is Judi Dench’s M. Where do you start when describing Dench’s excellence? Here, after all, is the woman who got a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for a few scant minutes of film time in “Shakespeare In Love”. In this outing there are many times where she captures the scene with an eyebrow, an emphasised line or a look. We get a well played good look at the complexity of the relationship between Bond and M in ‘Skyfall’ as both actors give us performances rarely seen in a Bond movie.
Ralph Fiennes does an excellent job as M’s political nemesis and even gets a chance to redeem himself in the end. More excellence from the British acting fraternity is provided by Albert Finney in a marvellous role late in the film.
Javier Bardem’s introduction into the movie as villain Silva is around a third of the way through the movie but well worth the wait. Director Sam Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins give us one long take as the actor walks from back to front of frame delivering a superb monologue. Bardem in this role gives us elements of Anthony Hopkin’s Hannibal Lecter without making it a copy or a caricature.
Speaking of cinematography can I say I was blown away by another long take, a fight between Bond and a sniper in a Shanghai skyscraper. Skyfall is well made and well written throughout.
Skyfall is the best Bond movie in many an outing. From the fifteen minute pre-credits opening chase sequence through some great credits with that Adele song all the way to the closing of our Bond shooting into that famous iris this is a movie that rolls along keeping you in your seat.