Have you noticed that the guys who make the bond films always talk about making it more relevant or realistic, or clam to be ‘updating bond’ or some such crap? Well, I think that they have finally succeeded this time. I went to see Skyfall last night: I was rather apprehensive at first, but a short while in I realised I was watching a real film, by which I mean a film with believable, fleshed-out characters and a good, solid realistic plot. It was still Bond, but bond taken seriously. Even the baddie has a grievance you could believe in; as Mark Kermode pointed out in his review, you can even see he has a point. As I wrote here, I really think Daniel Craig is bond as Fleming intended; what I saw last night certainly cemented his standing as one of the best Bonds ever. His acting was superb: stripped of some of the cartoonish aspects of some of his predecessors, what we have here is a real man, damaged, angry, and even vulnerable. The same goes for Dame Judy Dench: M gets much more to do in this film, and she obviously relishes it.
I want to say a lot more: I want to write about the part that made me cry (gravestone) the part that filled me with glee (car) the joke that made me chuckle (health and safety) and the part I agree with Dr. Kermode about, but I better not. I don’t want to spoil it for others. I will just say it is a great film, and a great addition to the bond franchise. As a cinephile, however, I must also note that there is an incredible shot in this film – possibly one of the greatest tracking shots I have ever seen – in which two people move independently through a crowded room while the camera keeps them both in focus. It truly was a masterful bit of film-making, quite artistic, and completely unexpected in films like this. Again, this is bond being taken seriously, and it’s great.
It seems I have broken the tradition of going to see every new bond film with Charlie. With a cinema just down the road, I just couldn’t resist temptation, especially after listening to Kermode’s review yesterday morning. Oh well, I suppose that just means I’ll have to arrange to watch it again with her (and indeed Lyn, who decided to stay home yesterday). What a pity!