By James Grayson
Right from the beginning of James Bond in 1962, you knew 007 would win the battle. But, in Skyfall, you genuinely feel that Daniel Craig’s character is beaten.
007 is wounded, frail and vulnerable and even unable to hold his gun steady, a stark contrast from the Bond we are used to seeing. And this leaves him open to attack from the villain Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem).
Silva, a former MI6 operative, wants to humiliate, discredit and kill M (Judi Dench) and is able to penetrate MI6’s systems. Silva is the most dangerous Bond villain there has been for a long time and Bond’s attempts to kill him lead to a gripping finale set at an isolated house in Scotland.
But another success of Skyfall is the decision to have the villain in the heart of London rather a far-flung country. The London Tube plays a key part in a ten minute section and viewers in the UK can relate to it. The Tube scenes add realism – something lost during the Pierce Brosnan years. In the Brosman years there were too many implausible scenes and Craig’s Bond has made it more believable again.
But while Craig is superb, Dench gives her finest performance as M. She is in real danger and while Bond and had their differences in the previous two films, 007 shows his loyalty to her and MI6. Alongside Dench, there are excellent debuts from Ralph Fiennes (Gareth Mallory), Ben Whishaw (Q) and Naomie Harris (Eve), who all look set to feature in the next Bond movie.
Skyfall may be a gritty and serious film, but director Sam Mendes ensures it retains the humour that has always been associated with the Bond franchise. As Bond leaps onto a moving Tube Train, a waiting passenger says to his wife, “he’s desperate to get home".
While Skyfall is a move from the Bond we all know, it still leaves its mark as one of the finest Bond films ever made. Skyfall has everything. It has whit, charm, romance and of course car-chases. It is a must-see and leaves you gagging for more.