Friday, November 9, 2012

Skyfall: a great Bond movie...
and more than it appears

Regular readers know that I'm a huge fan of Bond movies.  I've enjoyed even the worst of them--which are, of course, the silliest of the Roger Moore entries--and I've loved many of them. Until Daniel Craig took on the role, I was a staunch defender of Sean Connery as the best Bond; now, I think Craig may well own that title.  So, I entered the theater this afternoon expecting to like Skyfall

I didn't like it.  I loved it.  I loved pretty much everything about it, from the amazing action scenes, to the cinematography--both in them and in the quieter moments, to the characterization (yes, there is quite a bit), to the way the movie handles the Bond tradition.  I'm not going to tell you about its plot, nor do I recommend you read any reviews that do.  Just go see it.

What I do want to comment on is how much more this movie is than simply another Bond flick.  Skyfall is also a meditation and a conversation with all of the franchise's history, with the very real question of whether this type of movie and this type of character has any relevance today, and with all the Bond films that have come before it. 

Oddly, Skyfall is the most meta-fictional film of the year.  Directly and indirectly, in structure and in camera shots, in plot and in characterization, this movie digs up the roots of the franchise and of its characters, asks if anything good can still grow from them--and then convinces us that the answer is, yes, oh very much yes.  

I'm stunned that a movie with three writers, usually a sign of trouble, could be so cohesive and so complex.  Maybe Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan worked that tightly and with that coherent a vision.  My guess, though, is that the credit belongs most with director Sam Mendes, who from what I've read appears to have been in tight control of the movie.

I've only seen Skyfall once, so I'm not willing quite yet to declare it the best Bond film of all time, but I think it very well may be. 

Do not miss this one. 

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