“Skyfall” marks a return to form for the 007 franchise after its disappointing predecessor, “Quantum of Solace”. Unlike “Quantum”, which barely had enough plot to sustain the constant barrage of action sequences, “Skyfall” is story and character-driven, at the same time retaining the riveting action scenes that Bond fans love. And in light of the recent slew of mediocre action thriller films such as “The Bourne Legacy,” and “Taken 2”, “Skyfall” breathes life back into the genre and takes the audience on a thrilling ride.
This time around, Bond falls into serious predicaments in the signature pre-credit opening action scene (not much of a spoiler as to what happens as it is shown in the trailer) and spirals down to mid-agent crisis. In his absence, the office of MI6 gets blown up, and an ex-agent named Silva, played by Jarvier Bardem, is bent on destroying the British Secret Service and its head, M.
Bardem is most famous for playing the twisted hit man Anton Chigurh in “No Country for Old Men.” In “Skyfall”, Bardem channels the horror of Chigurh as Silva, the difference being Silva is a character driven by revenge, and the madness coming from a fractured and traumatized psyche as the result of past events. Silva is the best Bond villain in recent memory; at his best, he showed flashes of chilling menace reminiscent of Heath Ledger’s Joker in “The Dark Knight.”
Daniel Craig also gives another terrific performance as Bond. Having established himself as a capable action star, Craig takes Bond to the next stage, as someone who needed a break from all the killing and do some soul-searching. This proves to be an integral part of the story as he needed to be mentally rejuvenated in order to face off against the mastermind Silva. The film also explores Bond’s undying patriotism and a vague but persistent sense of personal justice that compelled him get back into the game despite having the option to ‘stay dead’.
Directed by Sam Mendes of “American Beauty” and “Revolutionary Road” fame, this film is a masterpiece in cinematography. The subtle maneuvers in camerawork make scenes that much more enticing, and further immerses the audience into Bond’s world. The action scenes are cleanly-edited and never confusing.
The ending of the film is satisfying and put a smile on my face. Its sense of liberation and continuation is what the franchise needs to keep viewers coming back to find out what will happen to Bond next. Whether you are a fan of the franchise or someone who even remotely likes action thrillers, “Skyfall” is a film that cannot be missed.