The 23rd installment of the Bond franchise is more style than substance but still thoroughly enjoyable.
By Yong Yung Shin
There’s a new blonde in town whom 007 will not be cozying up to anytime soon, and his name is Raoul Silva, played by an uncannily Joker-ish Javier Bardem (excuse the bad dye job on his eyebrows). Among other factors, his performance as the villain in this 23rd installment of the James Bond franchise makes Skyfall refreshingly different from its predecessors, one with fewer thrills but more chills.
That’s not to say that Daniel Craig (reprising the role of the British secret agent for the third time), is slipping up, of course. Bond takes a tumble early on in the show, but comes back grittier and snarkier when his loyalty to his boss M (Judi Dench) is shaken after a mission to retrieve a hard disk goes awry. But there’s no time for soul-searching as the threat strikes close to home this time, very close.
The plot isn’t exactly what one would call smart or sophisticated, depending more on dryly humorous quips to keep the love-hate tension nice and tight between Bond and M. Taking up much more of a centerstage than she did in previous installments, Dame Judy shows herself to be a Bond girl to be reckoned with, being equal parts feisty and vulnerable.
Also, a skillfully wrought undercurrent of foreboding reels the viewer in toward the inevitable end; think silhouette figures against fiery neon backgrounds, surrealistic scenes of disquiet and somber, sweeping set pieces—Skyfall is easily the most visually alluring and atmospheric Bond movie to date.
In fact, the whole movie is so nicely built up that we cannot blame it for its final act falling a tad short of what it seems to have promised. Still, it’s well worth the ride.