Skyfall, the 23rd entry in the James Bond film series directed by Sam Mendes, was a worldwide smash hit, earning over a billion in box office earnings, as well as an Academy Award for Adele in the Best Original Song category, and a well-deserved nomination for cinematographer Roger Deakins.
SKYFALL: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
The Gist: With a touch of classic film series opening scenes, James Bond emerges from the shadow, his Walther PPK/S drawn, as he approaches the Grand Bazaar in Turkey in search of an assassin. Bond engages the assassin in hand-to-hand combat atop a moving train. Agent down, presumed dead. The list is in the wind.
M (Judi Dench), the director of MI6, is facing a firestorm. Plus there's the long-time MI6 director to worry about, Mallory (Ralph Fiennes). M spits back. I'll leave when the jobs are done. But when MI6 HQ explodes, it all leads back to Istanbul, the list, and international spycraft.
James Bond isn't dead, and naturally, he returns to assist M in identifying those who've orchestrated all of this. He's also clawing bullet shards out of his biceps. Nonetheless, Bond travels to Shanghai and Macau, exotic locations that lead him straight to a deserted industrial island controlled by a mercenary hacker called Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem, menacingly violent). Silva's connection to Bond and M is
What Movies Will It Remind You Of? Skyfall went more elemental with the Bond Movie signifiers, craftily tying in the superspys signature drink, introductory line, and even his most iconic ride, the silver birch Aston Martin DB5. (Complete with machine guns behind the headlights, of course.)
Judi Dench, CH DBE FRSA, receives the nod for a performance that includes Skyfall's biggest M role yet. She's comfortable going out on the lam with James and riding the shotgun as they trap Bardems nasty Silva.
Memorable Dialogue: It was the main sequence in the original trailer for the film. So be it. Kincade, the wizened gamekeeper of Skyfall Manor (Albert Finney, the legend in his final role), replies. But we must get ready. So goes Skyfall on its fun preparing-for-battle sequence. (Just Dench creating IEDs from crushed light bulbs and shotgun shells, no big deal.)
James finds himself in the arms and steamy superyacht shower of Severine (Berenice Marlohe), the lovely associate of criminal mastermind Silva.
Our Take: Ripping action sequences that spawn their own internal action sequences, dazzling computer magic that here is the most commonly used, and many beautifully cut Savile Row suits that explore the Bond character's meaning, both as a conceit and as an individual. Skyfall scales down to a two-person game as she and her most prized agent attempt to outwit or outright murder their aggrieved, quite possibly insane adversary.
(It's worth noting that Craig returned in the COVID-delayed No Time to Die, but the future of the James Bond Franchise is currently in the air.)
STREAM IT. This is for Bond enthusiasts, as the characters' call-backs and specific signifiers are dynamite, but Skyfall is also a rip-roaring action film with outstanding direction, superb lighting and editing, and solid work from a talented cast.
Skyfall is now available on Amazon Prime.
Skyfall is now available on Hulu.