Behold, the greatest James Bond film ever! To say that Skyfall is a fun ride is a major understatement. It is not only that but is one of the best action films ever made. I absolutely had a blast watching it in the theatre and cannot wait to revisit it very soon. The film is an amazing triumph thanks to its director (Sam Mendes), three leading stars (Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and Javier Bardem), music, and cinematography.
This time around the danger lurking in the shadows hits closer to home, MI6 itself. Agent 007 is tasked to do whatever is necessary to stopping this imminent danger and ending it once and for all. Skyfall is an action-adventure feature and is the 23rd film in the James Bond franchise.
Let us start with Sam Mendes and his direction of Skyfall. He is completely confident of his abilities in this film. One quickly gets the sense of what it is Mendes looks to accomplish with this film. The result is a highly polished and sharp motion picture.
I greatly admire how well he has paced the film too. There is always a risk that a film that is more than two hours long will cause boredom at some point. Not in Skyfall. Sam Mendes does a great job of moving from the fast-paced action scenes to the slower story-focused ones. A remarkable achievement for what is essentially it an action film.
He also gives his cast the room to deliver excellent performances with each giving a unique take on their respective characters. Suffice to say, Skyfall ranks amongst Sam Mendes's best films. It is right up there with his other masterpieces American Beauty (1999) and Road to Perdition (2002).
When it comes to the aforementioned acting in Skyfall, a trio of performances shine above all others: Daniel Craig as James Bond, Judi Dench as M, and Javier Bardem as Silva.
Reprising his role as Agent 007, Daniel Craig is even better here than in his previous two showings. He is more focused, confident, assured and convincing as the world-renowned secret agent. All of his action sequences are superb, which is to be expected. However, Craig gives this film more than that by being absolutely convincing in the dramatic scenes as well. That is a magnificent feat since these are the scenes that tend to bring action films down. Where other actors have failed in those scenes, Daniel Craig soars. A truly remarkable performance.
Moving on to James Bond's trusted mentor and 'adoptive mother' M, Judi Dench is the same as she has always been. A veteran actress who now has the capability of effortlessly delivering strong and effective roles. M continues to be Bond's guiding light, even if that means getting herself in tough situations. I just love Dench in this role as she epitomizes everything a hero's mentor should be. Another excellent performance to be added to her illustrious career.
There is a lot to be expected from Bond villains that most, in my opinion, have not lived up to, unfortunately. The good news is that Javier Bardem's Silva is not one of them. I had thought that Bardem reached the pinnacle of evil with his role of Chigurh in the Coen Brothers' classic No Country for Old Men (2007). I was wrong.
Javier Bardem is absolutely fantastic in this film and adds another evil role to his resume. He steals every scene he is in, including those opposite Craig and Dench. I could see and feel in his eyes how much fun he is having with this role during the entire picture. Bardem relishes it and emits that energy and excitement to the audience, delivering a very memorable role. He adds to the superb work done by Craig and Dench by being another entertaining element in this film. He is one of Hollywood's great character actors.
I would also like to note the music in the film. The title song “Skyfall”, performed by the powerful voice of Adele, is one of the best James Bond songs to date. I would dare say it is equal to previous greats such as “Goldfinger” by Shirley Bassey and “Goldeneye” by Tina Turner.
The film's score is composed by one of my all-time favorites, Thomas Newman. His work on the classic TV show Six Feet Under as well as Pixar's Wall-E speaks for itself. Here, he creates more great music that fits perfectly with the film's various moods and settings.
Another element of Skyfall that deserves to be much applauded is the cinematography. Shot by Roger Deakins, the scenes in the film are nothing short of gorgeous. A few standouts include a shot of Bond on a boat during the night and a car trip among the woods. Deakins's work here is wonderful and is added to his eclectic filmography that includes The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Fargo (1996), No Country for Old Men (2007) and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007).
Skyfall is a superb achievement on all fronts. The directing is outstanding, the acting is sharp and focused, the music is vibrant, and the cinematography is simply breathtaking. I am one of those who took a long while to join the James Bond party. I watched a couple of them and cannot think of any other Bond film that is better than Skyfall, even Craig's first superb outing in Casino Royale. The entire film just clicks and moves so smoothly without missing a beat. It is, in my eyes at least, not only the best James Bond film, but one of cinema's most enjoyable action films in recent years. A must see.
MATM Rating: **** out of ****
- Daniel Craig (as James Bond)
- Judi Dench (as M)
- Javier Bardem (as Silva)
2 hours and 23 minutes
Action / Adventure / Crime