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Widely touted as one of the best Bond films ever (which it is), Skyfall is also an exceptional thriller. Picking up themes touched upon in Casino Royale, Mendes (Road To Perdition and American Beauty) tries to get inside Bond and the parental issues that make him tick. Accordingly there's less action and a lot less gimmickry and since less is usually more, Skyfall is accordingly huge.

The film opens at what could be the end when M (Dench) orders an operative to 'take the shot'. She does, misses her mark and Bond (Craig) is flung into a watery grave. Having played into the hands of rogue agent Silver (Javier Bardem), a man with a monumental set of mother issues, the London HQ of MI6 is bombed. But before you can say Lazarus, Bond is back and the villain captured. Yet nothing is what it seems until Silver corners M and Bond at the agent's abandoned parental home (those issues again).

Form the very start, Skyfall is a class act. Story, direction, cast, song, opening credits, Richard Deakins' exceptional cinematography, Thomas Newman's rhythmic score. Nothing has been forgotten. And while there are nods to the Bond staples (in a rare moment of levity, he threatens to use the ejector seat in his Aston Martin), this has been stripped of toys that destabilise the story. No invisible cars or exploding fountain pens. What's left is a rock solid thriller built around two halves of the same man trying to reconcile their inner demons. “You could be me,” says Silver to Bond.

And in exploring the humanity of the worlds most famous spy, Mendes gives him unprecedented depth. It's fascinating to watch as he is forced to face himself in a darkened mirror of affectation, turmoil and violence. Couple it to some thrilling set pieces and the best Bond girl ever (M), Skyfall comes up trumps. Compelling, exhilarating, frightening, touching. What more do you want from a film?

moviereview colin fraser film movie australia review critic flicks

Skyfall (2012) on IMDb

Daniel Craig
Judi Dench
Javier Bardem
Ralph Fiennes

Sam Mendes

Neal Purvis
Robert Wade


M / 143 minutes

November 22, 2012
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