It has been nearly two weeks since I first saw Skyfall in the cinema. In that time, I have read a lot more on others’ positive (or negative) reaction to it. After all is said and done, one thing remains abundantly clear for me about this film: it is an exhilarating, action packed film that in my estimation is one of the finest 007 outings that has been produced.
From the onset, we know we are in for an exhilarating (literal) ride, with our intrepid agent chasing down someone who has information that if placed in the wrong hands (as presumably his are) spell disaster for M (Judi Dench) and her band of spies. As the story unfolds, it is apparent that this time, the end game is much more personal, closer to home – even as we enjoy the bits of globe trotting thrown in between. However it is the United Kingdom, and London in particular, that featured prominently. I think this made Skyfall more grounded in terms of time and space.
When I first heard Sam Mendes was coming on board to direct the next James Bond film, I was slightly bemused; surely I did not doubt his ability to direct, but my concern came from his ‘action-y’ bona fides. Any skepticism on this matter was shattered by my satisfaction with the big action sequences that blended so well with the dramatic action taking place around it.
In terms of the performances, it’s official – Daniel Craig has supplanted the Bond that marked my coming of age, Roger More. I know he might not be everyone’s cuppa, but I quite like his grizzled, world-weary and weathered British agent. On the flip side, Javier Bardem’s Silva had a gravitas and purpose to his villainous ways that did not have to resort to the caricature “wanting to take over the world” baddie that we all but expect to see in these types of films. For their part, the ‘supporting’ players – including Judi Dench, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw – up-and-down the line made the film all the more enjoyable for me.
And now, the bad news , a couple of quibbles …
Of course the ever-present, shoehorned product placement is something that I can ignore, but when my guard is down, there are those moments when I am jolted by the crass commercialization so clearly exhibited on screen. We can get past that.
One thing that bothered me a bit more was the role Berenice Marlohe’s Severine served – her presence in the film only seemed to serve 007’s pleasure, and when her ‘work’ was done, she was no longer be required. Perhaps, the further away I get from the film it is something that I have thought about a little more, but in the moment, it sort of washed over me because I was so invested in reaching the end point of the film. Then again, maybe I am overthinking this whole thing – it is a Bond film, albeit a grand, well crafted one, after all …
So, one may ask, was this observation enough for me to NOT recommend the film? After some thought, I feel comfortable in saying that for 007 fans this is a must-see film. Even if you are not a devotee of the film franchise (incidentally celebrating its 50th year with release of this film), I think there is enough in here – with all the drama, explosive action and yes – even a couple of punchy one-liners thrown in for good measure –to make Skyfall an enjoyable night at the movies.