Archive for October, 2012

Skyfall – Review

Posted in Film Reviews And Conversations on October 30, 2012 by Adam Broome

These last few months for me have been the best for cinema in years. Catching the unforgettable and shocking ‘Irreversible’, the inspiring ‘Fitzcarraldo’, the dark and disturbing ‘Mulholland Drive’, and the beautiful ‘Let The Right One In’, it seems the art of actually going out to watch a film has been rather lost on me just recently. Enter one of the biggest event movies of the year, James Bond’s return to form after the failure of four years ago: ‘Quantum Of Solace’. Having been a one-time avid fan as a child, does this have what it takes to bring my interest back to the franchise?

Most of the marketing ploys have given the plot outline away already – the film starts on another routine mission, before Bond ends up being ‘killed in action’. The death is short-lived however, with Bond enjoying cocktails and women on far away islands in an early retirement. That is, until a new villain appears on the horizon – Mr Silva, played with pinnace and style from the ever-brilliant Javier Bardem. It seems this new villain has it in for MI6 and all of it’s agents, and it soon becomes more evident that Judi Dench’s ‘M’ is the absolute top of his hit-list.

This felt to me like another re-boot of the franchise right from the off. Casino Royale of six years ago was a re-boot of the franchise after the rather silly ‘Die Another Day’, but it seems that after ‘Quantum…’, Bond is getting a second shake-down. So many changes occur in the plot, most discussion points have to kept under lock-and-key at all times to avoid spoilers, but anyone who caught ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ earlier in the year will certainly see similarities regarding the themes of ‘rebirth’ right from the opening scenes. The running time of the film – just like that other film also – I found rather long, with me fidgeting a good thirty minutes before the closing act.

Bardem’s villain is probably the most interesting and memorable since Carlyle’s ‘Renard’ from the ‘90s, with most of his character development being hinted at, whilst keeping him ‘in the shadows’ for the most part. I do think some of the developments were re-treads of Sean Bean’s rather untouchable performance from Goldeneye however. There are also attempts to reveal more about Bond’s character, and his relationship to ‘M’ – things not explored in any great detail in any Bond movie until now.

The cinematography is more beautiful than you’d expect, and their are solid performances all around, with everybody doing their bit. Much like Casino Royale, the first hour of the film is globe-trotting around exotic locales, leading to the most memorable parts of the film. The second half takes place primarily in Britain however, and although that could seem ‘exotic’ to audiences outside the UK, it left the final showdown looking a little bleak for my tastes (particularly compared to the Venice showdown from that previous film). I found some parts of the film looking like they’d heavily borrowed from the Bourne franchise also – motorbike chases across arabic towns and shootouts in remote farmhouses have all been done before to a very high standard. There is no need to re-invent the wheel with films made less than a decade ago.

Overall though it is an enjoyable film. It certainly tries to do things differently with the Bond franchise cliches, but you can tell that this is the film where Bond is starting to become less ‘Casino Royale’ and more ‘Goldeneye’. It is not about what Bond was originally designed to be – it is about what Bond had become, after developing in a franchise spanning fifty years. Although this film did not set my world alight, it is a massive improvement on it’s predecessor, and it’s every bit as good as other spy films on the market. Hopefully the next installment will get us back to the classic Bond films of old, with a new modern style coupled with the touch of old-fashioned class.