Thursday, 1 November 2012

Review: Skyfall

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

Skyfall poster

143 mins / Dir. Sam Mendes

And so Craig returns for another round as the increasingly world-weary hero in the 23rd Bond movie. A great, lengthy pre-titles sequence sets the scene for an agent who's worried he's losing his edge, in an organisation that's struggling to keep its head above water…

In some respects, it's been pared down nicely to a muted version of the spectacle we've seen in previous films; by the final showdown, the world isn't at stake, only the worlds of four people standing in a deserted chapel. Elsewhere, CAT diggers and tube trains ramp up the action to precisely the level of mayhem we've come to expect.

Javier Bardem makes an excellent villain, although I'm not convinced that he's an excellent Bond villain. He carries a layer of madness and tragedy that lifts him way above other characters in his class, but at the same time caps his overall threat-level. He's so wrapped up in his personal agenda that you get the impression that he won't know what to do after he's achieved it, like a dog chasing a car. Ultimately, this makes him arguably more human than anyone else on-screen, which may be the point, but seems a little out of place for a story where we're meant to be cheering the good guys. There are some interesting themes running through the MI6 threads, particularly with the overall fear of obsolescence, but they're pretty much shrugged off by the end of the story, and they're just not as engaging as watching Bardem's Silva losing the plot scene by scene.

A hugely entertaining movie which doesn't outstay its welcome.


Oh, and the chase sequence at Embankment tube station? I'm probably not the first person to point out that they put things on the Tube escalators to stop you sliding down them like that. So, y'know, don't try that. Just saying.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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