To make a film that is part of a well-loved franchise is always an unenviable task. Most people hate you for trying, and very few are ever satisfied. Sam Mendes single-handedly defeats all those stereotypes with Skyfall.
The first thing that strikes the viewer, as one is walking out of the hall, is the attention paid to character and story, which is completely unlike the large number of Bond movies which have often looked like a string of put-together set pieces to showcase a tuxedoed agent.
The 007 agent is introduced as someone whose best days are all behind him, aging, vulnerable and off his game – something driven home by the Adele opening track. Unlike most Bond movies which focused solely on the agent’s single-handed achievements along with the ‘attraction’ factor added by the concept of a ‘Bond girl’, the movie looks more like an ensemble piece with M as the co-lead in most parts of the narrative, supported ably by Ralph Fiennes and Naomie Harris.
The villain constructed by Javier Bardem, is described by Total Film’s Neil Smith as “is that rarest of creations: a cyber-terrorist who genuinely terrifies.” Nothing is more frightening than a completely unhinged villain, and the film makes full use of the character to depict the changing scenario of villainy and heroism, along with sources of information.
The antidote and the poison to all that is, every thing that can change anything can all be done with a single flick of a keystroke. Or perhaps, just an idea. The twenty-third film which marks fifty years of the Bond franchise does justice to all these landmarks and leaves us with far more than aesthetic fantasies. It leaves us with a narrative of a man who has been in a ruthless profession for too long.
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