Style and substance are two things that any Bond film should not be without. The 23rd installment of the iconic James Bond franchise, Skyfall, has more than its share of exotic locales, sporty cars, and sophisticated threads; and with director Sam Mendes at the helm, this latest Bond flick could go down as one of the best.
Daniel Craig reprises his role as a ruggedly refined 007, on the trail of Raoul Silva, played by the immensely talented Javier Bardem. Judy Dench heads MI6 as M, and Ralph Fiennes joins the operation as Gareth Mallory, the Intelligence and Security Committee Chairman. However, in the midst of these decorated actors, newcomers Naomie Harris and Ben Wishaw hold their own as Eve and Q.
The roots of the franchise are not in the technology, but in the personality of James Bond and the world around him. Skyfall gives Bond a more intimate feel, getting into the mind of the secret agent who must cope with the enormous pressures of being a 00 agent. Craig portrays the cerebrally charged agent masterfully, cold and calculating, but with a brooding likeability and fierce loyalty.
The virtuoso of villainy, Bardem, provides a classic enemy, which is something that has been missing from the franchise for quite some time. His character, Silva, is a looming threat. He is vastly intelligent, dangerous, and motivated. He is refined yet flamboyant. Bardem does an exemplary job providing more than just a cookie cutter villain. Instead, like Monet or Van Gogh, his portrait of Silva becomes layered, with no lack of depth or emotion.
With Craig and Bardem providing the substance, Mendes brings the style. Mendes’s brilliant lighting effects play on the screen wonderfully. Gorgeous panning shots of the illuminated Shanghai skyline add a certain mystique to the exotic city. But later, the camera angle becomes static, transfixed on a silhouetted Bond and henchman, fighting in front of a massive blue, animated billboard. Two men battling to the death has never looked so beautiful.
Overall, the plot is steeped in suspense, but not without a healthy portion of action, more than enough to keep audiences enthralled. The combination of Craig, Bardem, Mendes, and the supporting cast makes Skyfall an incredible enjoyable experience. It is exceedingly intelligent and stylish, like a proper Bond film, and most importantly, Skyfall is sure to bring out everyone’s suave secret agent side, which in itself makes the film well worth the money .