Starring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem.
Directed by Sam Mendes.
Classification: M (Violence and infrequent coarse language), 143 mins.
Official Site: http://www.jamesbondskyfall.com.au/site/
James Bond's (Daniel Craig) loyalty to M (Judi Dench) is tested when her past comes back to haunt her and top-secret MI6 files are leaked—meaning the identities of each and every undercover agent placed in terrorist rings around the world may be compromised.When the agency itself comes under attack, Bond finds himself on a mission that takes him from Istanbul to the South China Sea to track down and destroy the threat, no matter the personal cost. But as secrets about M's past are revealed along the way, the agent finds himself questioning his loyalty to her.
Not to mince words, SKYFALL is a knockout—the best James Bond movie in years. Tradition number one is to open a 007 film with a breathtaking action scene. Check! We expect to see beautiful women. Check! Naomie Harris is well cast as one of Bond’s able colleagues in MI6, and Bérénice Marlohe is appropriately exotic as a Eurasian femme fatale.Of course, there must be a colorful villain who is larger than life. Check! The already imposing Javier Bardem, sporting blond hair and a lunatic grin, is one of the more notable Bond bad guys of recent memory… To those who haven’t warmed to Daniel Craig, I would say this is his best showcase yet. It allows him to display the wit and insouciance we associate with 007—which was downplayed in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace—along with the other qualities that make him who he is. An unexpectedly layered relationship with Judi Dench as M, his usually unflappable boss, extends Bond’s range of emotions even further.Director Sam Mendes is not normally associated with thrillers or action movies, but perhaps that’s why this one resonates more than usual: he concentrated on the human factor and trusted his expert colleagues to help in other areas. Let’s not overlook music. Check again! Another newcomer to the series, Thomas Newman, has provided a fresh, robust score that also pays homage to the Bond legacy. The title song, co-written and sung by Adele, is already a hit.Finally, we can’t forget the main title sequence, an essential part of every 007. A most emphatic check! Daniel Kleinman comes through with a dazzling piece of cutting-edge cinema for his sixth encounter with James Bond.SKYFALL is already earning rave reviews, and justifiably so. It’s superior filmmaking that also happens to be extraordinarily entertaining. That’s a combination we don’t see often enough.
In director Sam Mendes’ hands, putting the "intelligence" in MI6, "SKYFALL" represents a smart, savvy and incredibly satisfying addition to the 007 genre, one that places Judi Dench's M at the centre of the action. It's taken 23 films and 50 years to get Bond's backstory, but the wait was worth it. This time it's personal, so to speak, only the character seeking revenge isn't our secret-agent hero - though he has good reason, shot in the chest and left for dead in the Istanbul - but Silva (Javier Bardem), a character from M's past who resorts to cyberterrorism as a way of reconciling an old score. This Bond bleeds, he hurts and he just might suffer from unresolved mommy issues dredged up when he sees M thrust into a position of extreme jeopardy. Far more than her life is at stake, however. Amid a breakneck chase involving trains, motorcycles, conspicuously product-placed Range Rovers and at least one upended fruit cart, Bond valiantly tries to retrieve a hard drive containing a list of nearly all the NATO agents who have successfully infiltrated global terrorist organizations, only to be sniped by a fellow agent (Naomie Harris) at M's orders. Whatever parallels it shares with the Bourne series or Nolan's astonishingly realized Batman saga, SKYFALL radically breaks from the Bond formula while still remaining true to its essential beats, presenting a rare case in which audiences can no longer anticipate each twist in advance. Suffice to say, SKYFALL pushes the character into uncharted realms in terms of both psychology and action. Though she was kidnapped once before, in "The World Is Not Enough," this film gives Dench by far the most dramatic opportunity to explore the character. In perhaps its most welcome deviation from tradition, SKYFALL visits the villain's lair early, leaving the finale to unspool at a surprise location - one that reveals intriguing new depths of Bond's personal history. [EDITED]
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