Shy on action and cheeky one-liners, Sam Mendes‘ Skyfall is more about Bond – his psychology and his childhood.
The beginning, bar the opening high-octane chase scene, plods with few location changes as our hero goes AWOL and the story centres on ‘M’ in London. Once the plot begins to unfold the pace picks up: Highly sensitive security data has been leaked and one by one special agents around the world are targeted. The net tightens in on ‘M’. First her job is at stake and then her life. Bond dutifully returns. Out of shape and psychologically scarred, he is sent back into the fray. The villain is a talented former agent who ‘M’ sacrificed for the sake of others. Tortured and mentally unravelled, he is driven by the sadistic wish to destroy her.
Visual highlights include the Shanghai city lights seen as a backdrop to Bond swimming across a rooftop pool and a lone car cutting through scrubby Highlands set in drab twilight colours . The figure of Bond, seen from behind, standing amidst expansive locations in heroic pose was reminscent of Caspar David Frederich paintings.
Sadly Albert Finney gives a turkey of a performance with his clunky cliched lines. Miss Moneypenny and ‘Q’ return along with some other plot devices which whet the appetite for the next instalment.
More of a drama than an action thriller and more about ‘M’ as the villain, Skyfall has broken the mould somewhat and is still well worth seeing especially on the big screen.