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Film: Skyfall

Released – 26th October 2012

Certificate – PG

Director – Sam Mendes

Cast – Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe

Running time – 143 minutes

Plot – M’s relationship with Bond takes centre stage as her past creeps up on her, but Bond is on hand to once again rise up to the occasion of saving the day. As M16 comes under attack in a terrorism strike, 007 must track down the cyber-terrorist and get rid of him at all costs.

The typical Bond film is mainly made of a plot centred around the threat of a villain (normally with a foreign accent), a voluptuous vixen who tantalizes both Bond and the on looking audiences, an Armani suit, a large amount of action-packed scenes and a British accent. That would have summed up previous instalments of Bond, including the lacklustre Quantum of Solace, but Skyfall is a completely different ball game. As any other Bond movie, a certain amount of anticipation and hype grows right before the release. However, the proof is in the pudding, and the question always is if the movie can actually live up to its hype. This time, we have a winner.

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The opening scene immediately immerses you in a Bourne-like action packed scene on rooftops with the usual breath-taking, high-flying vigilante sequence; although at this point Bond already makes Bourne look like he needs a rain check. From the start, our protagonist has already been shaken by a particular event, which also donates its name to the title of the film. This sequence hand in hand with Adele’s rendition of the captivating 007 theme tune is an excellent start to the film. After 7 instalments, M, played superbly with neat comic timing, by Judi Dench, finally takes centre stage in the plot. She goes from calling the shots from behind the desk at M16, to fighting side by side with 007 himself; the man she has assigned so many missions to. However, our ‘shaken not stirred’ hero, reprised with excellence by Daniel Craig, is also seen in a different light.

Daniel Craig is given a far harder mission this time around, portraying a different James Bond than what audiences are used to. Craig’s portrayal requires him to get in touch with Bond’s emotional side, as he lets his guard down for most of the film giving time for him to regain his spotlight. The main idea of exploring this side of Bond is needed for him to reminisce his past in order to protect the present and the future. A very commendable performance made Bond’s emotions come to life and show that he too has feelings.

In the hands of an ex-M16 agent turned cyber terrorist with perfectly straitened blonde hair, Raoul Silva, played perfectly in an eccentric manner by the ever so talented Javier Bardem, is not the ‘usual’ Bond enemy. It clearly shows that Bardem delved deep into the mind of Silva, finding properties that other Bond enemies have never dared to explore. He is the type of character that could be compared to that of the Joker in the Dark Knight, where one is not sure if the individual’s uniqueness is terrifying or whether one should give in to his power, charm and deadpan comic timing. Bardem’s character interpretation is so impressive that it almost takes the limelight off Craig when both share the screen. With Silva, it’s all about being smooth and subtle with both voice and body language, rather than harsh and uptight like most of the previous enemies.

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Sam Mendes’s direction is crisp and fresh while providing the audiences with beautiful picturesque scenic views. The use of cut scene sequences only shows a part of a scene while leaving the imagination of the audience to figure out what happened before and after a cut scene. Among the most visually appealing moments are scenes where the protagonist’s shadow is seen over a coloured backdrop, including a steamy shower scene with Bond girl Bérénice Marlohe (whose performance is very much limited to a few scenes) and a very stylised Tarantino style fight scene.

Despite a slightly predictable ending, the 23rd instalment to the Bond series truly comes full circle in combining the past Bonds to Craig’s Bond. The return of the iconic Aston Martin almost makes a true Bond fan hold his breath for a few seconds. It’s perfect for anyone who is looking for a movie with the right amount of emotion and self-discovery, while also jam-packed with adrenaline filled action sequences. This is truly one of the best Bond movies ever made.

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