DIRECTOR: Sam Mendes
Opening, yet again within the Daniel Craig Bond era, without the ubiquitous ‘gun barrel’ sequence at the beginning, Oscar winning Director, Sam Mendes, the first of such calibre in the 23 films and 50 years of bond to this date, set out his stall from frame one with an artistic interpretation of the that very sequence using a hallway instead of the optical effect, establishing that cinematography was about to be raised up a notch from what we had seen before.
But that was not all. This is very much Bond post Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight (2008) and Inception (2010) specifically, though Inception was unashamedly Nolan’s so… but i digress. This is such as Casino Royale (2006) was Bond post Bourne (2001 – Present) and Moonraker (1979) was Bond post Star Wars (1977) etc… you get the drift. Bond has always reacted to the trends but with both Martin Campbell’s Casino Royale (2006) and Mendes’ Skyfall, it works perfectly.
But this is masterwork of adaption. With beautiful photography, a gripping and deep screenplay as well as the perfect balance of subtly and outlandish action, this is what Bond should be in the 21st century. Gripping and thrilling in equal measure, with significant character development across the board, as they pay homage to the long history of Bond during it’s 50th anniversary year.
So, after a thrilling and diverse opening chase scene almost playing out as a show reel for every Bond chase imaginable, this was followed up by one of the best Bond songs to date, Adele’s “Skyfall”, which takes us into the film in earnest.
What we have here is the perfect love letter to Bond, something was attempted back in 2002’s franchise killing Die Another Day, Pierce Brosnon’s final Bond film and released in the franchise’s 40th year, but whilst I still like that one a lot more than most fans, it was great fun, it pales in comparison to this, the culmination of Bond’s 21st century makeover, and in may respects, a soft reboot again, finally introducing Moneypenny, “Q” and bidding a moving farewell to Judi Dench’s “M”, after 17 years in the role, introducing her replacement, Ralph Feines.
Class, wit and grit, with a depth never before seen in a Bond movie, this film could stand alone, a perfect spy movie, with a visual flair leaning more towards that of an art house film rather than a blockbuster, yet fulfilling everything required to make this a great Bond flick.
This might not be the best Bond film in the traditions of the well worn franchise but hell, this is what Bond needs to be in this era and Craig, Mendes and all involved here have set the bar high for this genre for a long time to come.