50 years of Bond and this latest outing had a very authentic feel to it.
Sam Mendes career as a director has only 8 films to his name and he has gathered most recognition from directing the brilliant American Beauty. From here he went to the pretty impressive Road to Perdition after these two very solid and enjoyable films his next directing role came from the gritty war film Jarhead though not to the standard of the previous two, Mendes was showing great worth among the filmmakers of his time. This lead him onto two more films, that I have yet to see, in Revolutionary Road and Away we go from release both were well received. From here he would take on arguably one of the most pressurized projects a director can embark on, that of course being the new James Bond film.
By giving only a brief plot synopsis I hope to not give away too much of the plot and mention only parts shown in the trailer to avoid possible spoilers.
Bond must eliminate a threat that is targeting both the MI6 and specifically M.
I’m sure we can all remember the previous Bond film and I would like to think everyone agrees it was very disappointing considering how surprisingly good Daniel Craig’s first outing was in Casino Royale. However the important point to notice with Casino Royale was the fast paced and indeed how ‘Bourne’ like it was due to heavy shaky camera sequences. Not being a massive Bond fan my knowledge is quite thin however even I picked up on the vast differences of old bond and new. If you have even slightly followed the hype surrounding this latest release then you will know of quotes like “Best Bond” or “Bond is Back” and at the very least the latter quote is right. The greatest feeling from what I gathered from Skyfall is it felt like a traditional Bond despite the obvious contemporary methods used. It wasn’t just some obvious references to previous bonds sprinkled throughout, it was also the way it was shot and directed. As I mentioned the previous new bonds had featured fast jerky camera sequences however Skyfall is far more relaxed dwelling on that important ‘suave’ that is carried by bond.
Moving onto the characters and I think we should firstly pick up on the villain here the evil hacker by the name of Raoul Silva played by the brilliant Javier Bardem. Another major disappointment coming from Quantum of solace was the terribly poor villain who’s major fault was having a bad hairstyle. Thankfully Javier Bardem’s character is that much better that I would go as far as arguing he is one of the best bond baddies we have ever seen. Again only commenting on plot that is seen in the trailer, Silva wears a beige suit with blonde hair that seeks to give all the signals of a man of opposite equals to Bond. The most striking feature of this particular villain is the demanding presence that is no doubt helped by a great performance from Javier Bardem. Also worth noting is the homosexual suggestion, that is highlighted in one special confrontation with bond and although never fully confirmed its a nice touch that causes great discomfort to the macho of 007.
Daniel Craig’s career has really shot him to major fame especially over recent years and when you consider he used to be a small time British actor featuring in shows like Heartbeat, its quite remarkable. Although for me his career as Bond has not been as quick to impress even though his first appearance was a success. His next mission was obviously not very good (I promise not to mention it again) and although this was largely not his fault it did nothing to help. Thankfully Skyfall is where he has now accomplished himself as Bond and yes the quality of the film helped towards this feeling but it was clear to see he is now more comfortable and hence a better outcome. Plus with news of him signing on for a further two more its a welcoming performance that will surely just get better.
I don’t want to dwell too long on the characters as there is a large amount to go through however I think it’s only fair to mention the newcomers. Firstly starting with one of the new bond girls in Eve (Naomie Harris) who essentially plays Bonds sidekick and in doing so has all the flirting know how of Bond girls from the past. Its a good performance from Harris who has impressed me in the past for example her role in 28 Days later. Then there is Silva’s partner turned Bond girl Severin (Berenice Marlohe) with a name and dialect that is typical of the classic Bond girls she gives off a fragile yet elegant demeanor. This role doesn’t get a long screen time however its a good performance considering these characters traditionally get little introduction or background to work on.
Q returns! Finally bond fans of old and even new will be happy to see the gadget man return to the franchise. This time though he is played by the young Ben Whishaw who somehow has avoided my viewing other than a small role in Layer Cake. However he is usually critically acclaimed by many a people and from his role here as this nerdy Q, I will be checking out his other films. One final mention goes to Ralph Fiennes in the role of Gareth Mallroy and as expected when a well known actor plays a rather minor role his time on screen limits the judgement of how well he performed. Though there is enough of him for us to enjoy his ease in creating a character even if under developed.
So whether your a major bond fan or more casual like myself this is Bond at its best and resonates the films of the past, which is suitable for its 50th anniversary.