Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Mon Nov 5 2012
James Bond is dead. Settle down—a massive spoiler has not been dropped. Physically, the British secret agent we all know and love is doing just fine. It’s a miracle, really, considering the exciting, exhausting precredits chase sequence that ends with our hero’s accidental shooting and forced exile. He’s dead to the world, and haunted by himself; everyone who has followed the series since the great Daniel Craig assuredly assumed the iconic role in Casino Royale (2006) knows that this Bond broods more than he bleeds. And the tropical paradise he hides out in is more like purgatory; drinking games involving scorpions are the norm. A perfectly timed news broadcast wakes Bond from his lethargic slumber: MI6 has been bombed and his beleaguered superior-cum-surrogate-mother M (Judi Dench) is receiving threatening anonymous missives.
The spy who’s loved many is back in action soon enough, though it’s clear he’s off his game in both body and spirit—something that cannot be said of the cast and crew behind this terrifically entertaining entry in the 50-year-old film series. Everyone does A-level work, from bleach-blond costar Javier Bardem (a memorably psychotic addition to the Bond rogue’s gallery) to ace cinematographer Roger Deakins, who films the plentiful action sequences with thrilling clarity—a shadowy fistfight atop a Shanghai skyscraper and a Straw Dogs-esque siege finale are particularly memorable. Skyfall has the feel of both a ceremonial commemoration and a franchise-rebooting celebration, especially in the ways it attempts to too cutely sync up the ’60s-era Bond mythos (casual misogyny and all) with the more complicatedly Bourne-inflected recent episodes. The return to a mostly male-dominated perspective leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste, though it barely diminishes the myriad pleasures afforded by one of the series’s finest installments.
Follow Keith Uhlich on Twitter: @keithuhlich
Author: Keith Uhlich
Fri Nov 9 2012
Cast and crew
Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Naomie Harris, Albert Finney, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem