The name’s Bond. James Bond.

Skyfall (2012) Review:

WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS

Please note this is merely my own critique of the film as a layman, I implore you as always to see the film yourself and cast your own judgement.

Oh Bond. Even though I am touring at the moment it has been hard not to miss the overwhelming advertising and countdown to the latest Bond movie Skyfall. With Adele’s theme tune rendition being played incessantly on every radio station and the multitude of interviews with the cast, I must say, I was gearing up for another well crafted spy film. With stars such as Javier Bardem, who as we know from No Country for Old Men plays villain effortlessly, and national treasure Judi Dench, I was itching to get to the cinema. From the interviews I managed to catch I got the distinct impression that the script was changing from “Villain wants to take over the whole world” to “Villain is actually human with a very personal goal.” My, was this going to be exciting, not only would Bond be staying true to the legacy but also enticing us with the possibility of some serious acting and not just the clichéd one-liners.

So what went wrong? Well firstly we must start with what actually went right, for that must only be fair.

When you think Bond, you surely think explosions, chases and stunning destinations. To give credit where it is due, Skyfall has all of that and more. By starting out with a chase which spanned over all modes of transport including trains and motorbikes, Bond was back. As the Telegraph Review commends Mendes for his action sequences and Deakins for his cinematography shots, I understand why, Yes, we still love Bond.

However, despite Skyfall bringing Bond into the new age of cyberterrorism, updating the Spy world, I somehow felt lacking. Why wasn’t I enjoying this film? On reflection I feel it was three reasons: Age, Villain, Girls. Three things that until now have really made a Bond film. Through Skyfall we see Daniel Craig looking slightly wearier and although I applaud the realism of his recovery from bullets being slow, it was slightly disconcerting. What is Bond? Bond to me is like Doctor Who. Bond doesn’t age. He regenerates. So to have a centered plot line around Bond aging felt out of place, what will happen when Craig is replaced? Will our audience of today accept new and improved  Bond No.9 after seeing No.8 wither and fall? I am not so sure. After reading a multitude of reviews, I do concede that it is a daring move for Mendes to show Bond as a man “whose best days may be all behind him”, however this surely puts a spanner in the works for Mr Bond No.9. The deconstructing of this icon may prove to be the franchises downfall.

Javier Bardem, I do applaud thee. With his audacious blond locks and severe dentistry it was hard not to love this surprisingly calm villain. Surely a Bardem trait, the calm lunatic, he captivated me with his scenes, which proved to be too far and few between. Applying Bardem’s character Silva to the cyberterrorism plot felt jarred and static. As cyberterrorism lends itself to hands off, anonymous killing, Silva was then forced to switch to enjoying physical stalking to kill. For a villain to be so in control to then become a wreck took skill. Bardem gave it all, from his entrance, interrogation and back-story monologue. I just wish there was more, for example a flashback, to give the audience the chance to empathise with this man on a revenge mission, turning him into yet another crazy Bond Villain.

But these points aside, the element I disconnected most from was the women. What is Bond if not mixing with sexy, svelte, intimidatingly beautiful with a hint of danger femme fatales? It was here I feel this movie failed me the most. As a working actress I would of course die to play a Bond girl, however after seeing Skyfall, maybe I would reserve my enthusiasm until I had read the script. Humiliating and lacking are the words I would use to describe the female involvement within the film, not including Dench of course. The first female part played by Naomie Harris, is consistently ridiculed throughout the film, from accidentally shooting Bond to not being able to drive. She is degraded to the point where she decides she would rather “do desk work” than be in the field. What is that sound? Oh yes, just equality wooshing out of the window. Lara Croft would be appalled. The second female, the love interest played by Bérénice Marlohe, is as you would expect, drop dead gorgeous. But when she started to talk I found myself wondering who had done such an awful job with her eyeliner, she was not engaging with her accent jarring the emotion and flow of the words, of which Javier Bardem with his accent, excelled. Maybe she didn’t have enough screen time for her character to develop, nevertheless, I was unmoved when she was killed off, even her sex scene with Bond seemed edited to the bare minimum required.

I can see how biased my opinion can be, especially when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of female parts but in memory of Eva Green’s character in Casino Royale, I know they can be more than sexualised play things who are objects of ridicule when it comes to “man work”.

Please don’t think from this review that I sat and hated the film, quite the opposite, I was entertained. Especially by the carefully constructed banter between M and Bond and also by Silva. But I feel that by daring to delve into Bond’s past and therefore doubt his future, Mendes failed to see that Skyfall was one tracked. I know Craig is not known for his emotional depth but please Bond, next time, a little less misogyny and a little more heart.

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Welcome to my blog.

On here you will find daily musings, theatre and film reviews and an insight into what life is like for an actress.
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