Bond, James Bond. The most un-secret agent the world has ever known. Where ever he may be in the world there is always a bar where the barman knows just how James Bond likes his Martini. I always used to think that Bond should man up and have a real drink, Martini – really. It’s like one of those cheesy Babycham adverts.
But not this Bond. I’ve taken a liking to Daniel Craig and his tough, no nonsense Bond. OK so he’s a bit good looking, apparently. Muscular, lean, pretty-eyed, debonair man about town, we have a lot in common. So what was there to like about this movie? In my view, just about everything.
Skyfall kicks off with a car chase, which becomes a rooftop motorbike chase, then a fight on the top of a speeding train. It all happens so fast … ‘Agent down’ Bond falls hundreds of feet into cold mountain river – cut to credits and the beautifully sung title song by Adele.
This Bond film is not about the gadgets, or the girls, or the cars. It’s about Bond and M, played masterfully by Dame Judi Dench. We have a bad guy, the ubiquitous, Silva, played by Javier Bardem, a bad guy who is not out to rule the world with a super-weapon. Mr Silva was one of their own, double 0 agent. Now living on the knife edge of madness, driven by his one obsession, M. A survivor of torture, taken like a true agent, for M and country, he took the suicide pill and lived. From that time he has developed a bit of a psychological instability. Silva was an agent, who at his best was better than anyone, including Bond, or so he claims. He is a man who has grasped the potential power of the computerised world and harnessed it to do his bidding. He has a cunning plan, which he explains, only once, at length without boring the audience. I like him, a well rounded character whose main failing is his arrogance.
Add to this unusual Bond villain, a Bond who has taken advantage of an unofficial sabbatical by playing dead. The unshaven, unkempt, drunken Bond, living rough on a lonely island. Drawn back into the affray when he sees MI6 has been attacked. Bond is back. However he’s a mess, unfit for any kind of active service. But M needs him, so she reinstates 007 and sends back into the field. Now we get down to the action of which there is plenty.
Unlike its predecessors, Skyfall, has a much more thoughtful plot. There’s no rushing this one. It’s all about the characters. With good dialogue driving the story along at a steady pace. It’s a personal story detailing the interwoven lives of Bond, M and the twisted mind of Silva. Throughout the whole film there are very few mentions of Skyfall, once during a psychological examination, Bond flinches at the mention of the name. Enough said on that as I’ve already said too much about the story already.
I must admit that I was intrigued by the whole mystery of Skyfall, and I was not disappointed by the final revelation . Enter Kincaide, the old family game keeper, amiably played by Albert Finney, who lets us all in on the secret of… That’s what you pay your money to find out.
As the finale approaches the bad guys surround Bond, M and Kincaide in the Scottish Highlands, in a shoot out to rival any other blockbuster movie, M is hunted down by Silva until the final confrontation in a derelict chapel which gives us one of the most beautiful Bond moments ever.
Before watching Skyfall I had avoided any review, write up, or social media. I did not want to know anything about it at all. I had watched both Casino Royal and The Quantum of Solace, with Daniel Craig as Bond and enjoyed them both. So what about Skyfall? Well, Skyfall would have been a good film all by itself without Bond, but with him it stands as one of best Bonds of them all.