For a film that rarely drops the pace established by one hell of a pre credit action sequence, Skyfall, the latest entry into Bond’s illustrious big screen career, contains a tremendous amount of depth and character development. Despite a lack of globe trotting found in the classic Bond movies Skyfall manages to pay a fitting tribute to 50 years of Bond with a plethora of winks and nods to the films that came before it.
Gone is the shaky camera work that plagued Quantum of Solace as director Sam Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins do a formidable job in creating beautiful juxtapositions of light and silhouettes, helping to make Skyfall the most visually breathtaking Bond film to date. The pacing of the film is fantastic, as it manages to meld strong character development with great action sequences. The story is engaging, and the twists unexpected, and most importantly it is always first and formost the driving force of the movie, never taking a backseat to the action.
For fans of the literary Bond, Daniel Craig is once again the pure embodiment of the character, and I for one hope he continues in the role for as long as humanly possible. The third act in particular really showcases the intelligent, strategic Bond found in Flemming’s novelisations which have all too often been shelved in favour of the catch phrase spitting action hero in the past. That isn’t to say there aren’t any comedic moments as Craig manages to deliver any potentially cheesy one liners brilliantly with his characteristic dry wit.
Javier Bardem will undoubtedly be the actor that grabs the headlines as he creates a theatrically weird, yet believable villain, coming across at times as a mix between The Joker and Hanibal Lectre. Newcomer Ben Walthamstow meanwhile puts in a fantastic performance as a young Q, playing off Craig’s older Bond wonderfully and creating some brilliantly comedic moments in the process. Likewise other newcomers Ralph Fiennes and Naomie Harris are more than comfortable in their respective roles as Mallroy and Eve respectively, whilst Dame Judi Dench‘s chemistry with Daniel Craig help build the relationship between their characters.
The biggest disappointment was probably the title sequence, but that would be me nitpicking for the sake of finding a fault. This is easily one of the best Bond films of all time, on par with if not exceeding Casino Royale, and quite possibly my film of the year, it’s a fitting way to celebrate 50 years of Bond on the big screen.