For a 44-year-old man, Daniel Craig is pretty good at jumping off of bridges and roundhouse kicking bad guys in the jaw. It isn’t hard to see that “Skyfall” shines because of his all-star performance as James Bond. Not only does Craig have the body for a Bond film, he has acting skills to back it up. He has mastered the signature Bond expression: a perfect blend of smug, disinterest and maybe a tad bit of annoyance. “Skyfall”, however, stands out from other Bond movies in that the famous British spy finally shows an emotion other than satisfaction.
“Skyfall” also stands out from other Bond movies for its cinematography. The final half hour of the movie consists of an epic showdown between Bond and the main villain, Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), that takes place in Bond’s childhood home, appropriately named Skyfall. The only light source during the entire seen is the blaze of Skyfall as it burns to the ground. This choice of lighting by director Sam Mendes intensifies the mood of the movie into a laser point focus on the characters and their dialogue. There isn’t any of the usual background scenery that distracts the audience from the plot.
Since “Skyfall” was released on the 50th anniversary “Dr. No”, the film tries to lend a few tributes to the James Bond series as a whole. Fortunately, these tributes are very subtle, not the type that knock you over the head and detract from the film on a whole. Instead of structuring the entire movie around a tribute, Bond just drives M around in his classic, completely unostentatious silver car.
Where critics claimed “Casino Royale” had too much action and not enough plot and “Quantum of Solace” was the opposite, “Skyfall” is the perfect balance between plot and action. And the action isn’t mindless. When Bond wrestles with a sniper on the top of a high-rise building in Shanghai, it leads him to another building and another link of the chain, as opposed to other action films where he would wrestle with a sniper just because the writer wanted him to wrestle with a sniper.
Despite its stellar actors and cinematography, the writers fall short on a few points. There are one or two plotlines that don’t get tied up and more than one scene where the audience is skeptical about the physics of the situation. For example, it seems a little hard to believe that Bond could hold on to the bottom of a glass elevator as it accelerates to the top of a sky riser. Not that it didn’t look cool, but you have to draw the line somewhere. Suspension of disbelief can only extend so far, especially in a James Bond movie.
It’s pretty hard to make a bad James Bond movie. Ian Fleming’s James Bond is the person everyone dreams of being. With perfect actors and unique filming techniques, “Skyfall” is arguably the best James Bond film yet and will have the audience of screaming for more.