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Skyfall - The Ex-Communicator

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October 28th, 2012

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09:13 am - Skyfall
All times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; ...I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart

I went to see Skyfall, the new James Bond. This is a brief spoiler-free overview. I dunno, I will cut it in case you are utterly allergic to seeing anything in advance, but there's nothing here that gives away any significant plot development. But do try to see it.

It is terribly good, and well worth seeing. It is directed by Sam Mendes, who did American Beauty, and I think this is better, though less innovative. It is a film of its type - it is an action film, with absurd derring-do, but I think it is a very good example of that genre. I always say I am happy to be blatantly pandered to, if it is done with elegance and humour. I think this is how an action film should be made, in contrast to the recent Batman film, which was inelegant and lazy. It has good fan-service, a good older woman role, Daniel Craig tied to a chair (great scene all round - you'll see), and my favourite Tennyson poem (Ulysses), so all in all, a good night out for me.

Javier Bardem is a horrid villain, complex enough to have some kind of solidity. My daughter thinks he is based on Julian Assange - I don't agree but it's interesting thought. He reminded me more of Tim Curry.

I just have one casting criticism. I love Albert Finney, and it is great to see him on screen, but here he plays a Scottish character. I think that is a mistake, and they should have found an iconic older Scottish actor. But it occurs to me they might have tried and failed to get Sean Connery (or they are saving him for a certain role in a sequel). I haven't thought of a better alternative.

The theme of Ulysses - of an older hero, damaged by events, setting forth again - is strongly paralleled to a vision of Bond as an iconic representation of England, eternally linked in heart to Scotland and Europe, struggling against the weight of poor leadership, coming back from the dead. It is an optimistic vision, and I think many British artists now are trying to forge a positive new vision of Britain, because it is the responsibility of our artists to do that. To serve the culture that made us, and to save it. Like in the war really, when our survival was the primary responsibility of all British writers and artists.

(7 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2012 04:38 pm (UTC)
I still can't help reading it as Skyfail...
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2012 04:50 pm (UTC)
That would give quite the wrong impression
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2012 08:31 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed this film. I am married to a Bond afficianado, so went prepared to have an enjoyable companionship evening, but - like Casino Royale - this was surpassingly good.

I was particularly impressed with the score - my head was echoing with it hours afterwards.
[User Picture]
Date:October 28th, 2012 11:13 pm (UTC)
Yes, I thought it was great. Some superb performances. Even the 'bad girl' - who is usually one-dimensional - was emotionally compelling. Really new life into a tired old genre.
[User Picture]
Date:November 4th, 2012 11:24 am (UTC)
Bill Paterson was someone who came to my mind as a Scottish actor who could have played the role. I am sure there are more. Pity Gordon Jackson isn't still alive. I am quite glad that it wasn't Sean Connery although I wonder if it wasn't written for him. If it had been Sean Connery, I think that would have been the kind of fanservice that makes me twitchy rather than finding it enjoyable.
[User Picture]
Date:November 4th, 2012 11:39 am (UTC)
Oooh I love Bill Paterson, like a lot of women my age. He seems perhaps too wry and gentle to deliver the 'welcome to Scotland' line, but perhaps he would have made it subtly sinister.
[User Picture]
Date:November 12th, 2012 07:54 pm (UTC)
I read your review before I went to see Skyfall and agree with it in all respects.

I do think that it was unfortunate that the bad guy has to have a disability. And although I liked her as a character, as a casting choice, the new Moneypenny annoyed me for the same reason the casting of Watson in Elementary annoyed me: no objection except to wish that this was the central character, not a supporting one.

Sean Connery was the director's first choice for the Kincaid role, I'm told, but he decided it wouldn't work.

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