Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Film Club: Skyfall

I have just seen Skyfall.  Those of you who've also seen it, need not read on; you know how amazing it is. How it captures completely the essence and all that we love about classic Bond, but simultaneously recreates it for a new generation of Bond lovers.  Before I get ahead of myself with excitement, let me break it down.

The formula is simple, there's a baddie, some car chases, exotic locations, glamorous women, and if that's as far as it went, it would be like any other good Bond film.  But it doesn't stop there, director Sam Mendes takes Bond further than he's been before; and with very pleasing results.

Bond - Daniel Craig may not be the most classically handsome Bond, nor the most suave, but he does that rugged, dangerous hero thing very well, and the man can run.  He's made Bond, and I hate to sound unoriginal, but he's made Bond now.  He's accessible, he's flawed, but he'll still do anything for Queen and Country.  More of Bond's history is discovered in Skyfall, and takes us right back to his begninnings.  For those of you not versed in Bond lore, this film brings us bang up to date on who Bond is and why he is the way he is. 

The gadgets - Q is no longer a charming, bumbling old chap with a veritable toyshop of gadgets, but a nerdy, mop-topped, young thing, who'd not look out of place as an extra in the IT Crowd, all computers and internet and back to basics stuff.  I'm not familiar with this kind of Q, but I think I like him.

The baddie - Javier Bardem outclasses many Bond villains times over.  He is creepy, mysterious, strangely attractive in his perfectly cut suits, yet absolutely terrifying.  This baddie is scary in a new way, he isn't trying to control nuclear weapons or destroy countries, he is attacking London; MI6; M; Bond; this is personal.

The car - I'm not giving away the plot by telling you Bond drives a vintage Aston Martin DB5, harking back to old Bond, and making this Bond all the more real.  The DB5 anchors this new Bond in our firm love of old Bond, it exploits our nostalgic memories of Bond, and packs them full of Daniel Craig.  Clever.

Exotic locations - the pre-title sequence is a beautifully filmed car chase across the rooftops of Istanbul, but apart from this and a few other short scenes, the film is set in the UK, mainly London.  This Bond is not about sailing around on private yachts, lounging on white sandy beaches, or gaming in lavish casinos, this Bond has come home.  The streets and underground of London are where the action is, and it feels right, timely almost, that Bond is come home.  

(Photos not our own, sourced from Google, sincere thanks.)

The women - Severine - the character herself is quite a typical Bond girl, all glamour and front, but not much substance.  The acting, however, is not typical.  Bérénice Marlohe gives possibly the best ever performance as a Bond girl, capturing the strength and vulnerability of her character perfectly.
I won't mention the other Bond girl character for fear of ruining the story.  You'll have to go and see the film to find out why.

Even after dissecting every part of the film, I am not disillusioned.  Despite all the cleverness, it is still a jolly good action film.  I am already sinking again into a Bond reverie.  I think I shall dream of Bond tonight.  I'd love to talk about it more, I really haven't covered the half of it!  But that, I think, really would ruin it for those who haven't seen it. 

Anyone up for seeing it again?  I'll go with you!  And if you haven't seen Bond before, or never really got into it, now's the time, go!

A x

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