Movie Review: Skyfall

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Directed by Sam Mendes, “Skyfall” marks 50 years of the most enduring icon in the world of espionage. Daniel Craig (“Cowboys & Aliens“) returns as James Bond after four years of hiatus.

After all the flash and flair with Pierce Brosnan, it took a lot of adjustment to get used to Craig, but with “Skyfall,” he has finally made the role into his own. A different kind of Bond, Craig gives a more intense and realistic feel to the character.

With a straightforward story concerning a stolen classified list of undercover agents embedded in terrorist cells around the world, the strength of “Skyfall” lies in the relationships. Bond’s relationship with M (Judi Dench) is dynamic, touching on elements of duty, betrayal, trust and loyalty. Ben Whishaw (“Cloud Atlas”) makes an interesting Q as the youngest techie in history. Javier Bardem (Silva) is most entertaining as villain, deliriously ruthless and wicked. The Bond girl, Severine (Berenice Marlohe), is a disposable plot device connected to Shiva. The introduction of Ralph Fiennes (Gareth Mallory) and Naomie Harris (Eve) makes sense and leads to a nostalgic transition, smoothly giving way to a renewed chapter of James Bond.

When it comes to gadgets, less is more in “Skyfall.” But action-wise, it’s pretty packed. Relentless street and rooftop pursuit on foot, cars and motorcycles. Hard-hitting fight atop a moving train. A derailed tube plunging underground. It all climaxes with Silva’s army of men closing in on a trapped M, Bond, and the gamekeeper of his family estate, Kincade (Albert Finney), while the trio also set up traps on their own.

“Skyfall” is luminously filmed, making the most of aerial views of the locales, including closeup shots of the action, or standstill moments. Its use of light, shadow, water, fire and ice is artfully beautiful, especially surprising considering that it’s an action flick. Shanghai and Scotland are particularly standouts, where fight manifests in shadows against glowing light and glass walls, or an old chateau set ablaze in the vastness of a remote field in the darkness of the night. The soundtrack by Adelle memorably compliments the scenes.

Compared to “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace,” “Skyfall” is the most personal installment of the superspy franchise. It’s back to basic and and the best one yet.

Copyright (c) 2012. Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a business manager, foreign language translator, lifestyle/travel writer and film columnist. She can be reached at Nathalia owns a movies blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter:

Nathalia Aryani is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic ( She has a movie blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at [email protected].

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