Movie Title: Skyfall
Director: Sam Mendes
Date Released: November 9th, 2012
Date Seen: November 9th, 2012
Seen with: Dad
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
Well, other than the fact that I was BY FAR the youngest person in the theater (we went to the 10:00 am showing, on a Friday), and two old men almost got into it with each other fighting over cell phones and talking….. this movie was AWESOME. Seriously, I loved it. Don’t waste your time reading this, just go see the movie.
I feel like I should point out that I “like” the Bond films. I like them because they’re usually decent, same formula, lots of girls, cars, pretty simple plot… etc. They’re good, in my mind, to keep on in the background while you’re doing something else. Don’t like it? Ah well. This film, on the other hand, I found much more violent, dark, and less cheesy than the other films. Yes, we get our typical Bond moments such as him drinking a martini… but we don’t hear him ordering it, and we also see him drinking beer at a couple parts (*oh blasphemy he’s a normal man!*). The moments that are “typical” Bond moments are either sly like that, or they are done in slightly humorous ways. Not making fun of them, but done so that fans of all the other films can enjoy these little Easter eggs while newcomers to the series can just enjoy them for what they are.
I say the movie is more “dark” just because the overall tone is pretty heavy. The movie has much more of a political thriller feel than just a classy action film, which personally I enjoy MUCH more. I would go back and watch this movie again, unlike a number of the other Bond films. I like Daniel Craig as Bond, but really the standout in this movie was Javier Bardem. He was TERRIFYING. Why? You never knew what he was thinking, what he was going to do, and you figured out pretty quick that he was one demented villain. He has this weird twisted humor that keeps you on your toes when ever he is around. He was definitely my favorite character for being so damn creepy – and the blond hair? Damn!
While the movie is not a completely typical Bond film – I think it’s better and I highly recommend you go see it.
Part 2 – In Depth Spoiler Ridden Review/Synopsis
The movie opens in media res. Bond (Daniel Craig) is chasing someone, we don’t know who, and finds another agent shot and severely bleeding. M (Judi Dench) instructs Bond that he has to catch the man who he is chasing – because this man is in possession of a hard drive that contains the names of ALL foreign agents undercover (we discover this over the course of the chase). Thus, even though the other agent might be bleeding to death, it will be even worse if the man gets away. Bond accepts this and continues on the chase. The chase continues throughout Istanbul for a decent amount of time. We meet Eve (Naomie Harris), a young agent. She is driving a car on the chase, and at one point she and Bond get separated. Bond is chasing the man on top of a train and Eve is following by car. After more fights and some awesome Bond type moves, there comes a point where the two man are combat fighting across a bridge on the roof of the train. Bond gets shot once by the bad man. Eve has run out of road and has set up a sniper. She informs M that she doesn’t have a clean shot of the bad man…. but M tells her to take it anyway. Eve hesitates for a long time, because when she says the shot isn’t clean, dear god, it’s a horrible shot. But M tells her to shoot – and Eve does. She hits Bond, who falls off the roof of the train and into the water below. The bad man gets away.
We then have one of the coolest intro sequences ever. It reminded me of the American version of “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”‘s intro sequence. So during this, some time must pass. We see M writing an obituary for Bond that states they are unsure whether or not he has lived or died, but he has been missing long enough that he is presumed dead. M and her assistant, Tanner (Rory Kinnear), are called to a meeting with Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), the new head of British security. In his meeting he is basically telling her that he thinks the MI6 operative program is old and outdated, and that it needs someone new and fresh. He tells her that “she will have a good retirement with full benefits”. M understands that she is being fired – or “given the chance to retire”. This is partly due to the fact that the super important hard drive is still missing, and a major agent (007) was killed in the recent months. She walks out saying that she will not leave the agency until “the job is done.” On the car ride back to MI6 headquarters, Tanner gets a phone call saying that someone is trying to access the hard drive. They tell the driver to hurry and start tracing where the access is coming from…. it’s coming from M’s personal computer inside of MI6. They are almost there, but there are police blocking the way. M gets out of the car all pissed asking what the hell is going on…. and then MI6 headquarters explodes. Oh shit.
On some unknown island, we see Bond, drinking a Heineken (conveniently with his hand placed over the name but in a way that you can clearly tell it’s Heineken) and with some hot girl, duh. We see him standing looking in the mirror, and the gunshot wound that he got from the bad man is now healed. Can’t see where he got shot by Eve, but I wasn’t really looking. Bond goes and walks to a bar, where he is drinking a shot, with a scorpion on his hand trying to make it not sting him… in other words, being a badass. Even the next day, Bond is still seen drinking at the bar. He notices a news broadcast on the TV – and he learns about the bombing of MI6.
Back in London, Tanner, Mallory, and M are discussing the bombing. They think it must be someone inside the agency or that knows their workings very well. The person accessed M’s personal computer, found out she would be gone, and wanted to send her a message. After a funeral for those that died in the bombing, Tanner takes M home. At home, M goes to pour a drink… and Bond appears behind her. She asked why he came back, and he said it was his duty. She informs him that he will have to pass the certification tests again to be reinstated and to go shower… at a hotel… because after he “died” they sold his flat and put all his stuff in storage. The next day starts the training… running, pull ups, sit ups, psych evaluations, and a shooting test. The shooting test is clear that Bond has lost some of his awesome. His right arm, is affected by the bullet wound, and thus his aim is HORRIBLE. The psych evaluation also goes pretty bad. They do a word association thing, and Bond doesn’t seem to take it seriously. The only word he refuses to “associate” with anything is “Skyfall”. That night, before leaving, Bond digs some fragments of the bullet out of his shoulder – so yes, they’ve been in there long enough for the wound to scar over and now he’s opening it back up. Ew. He gives it to a lab guy to analyze. The next day, at the new MI6, Bond encounters Eve again. Eve apologizes for shooting him, and they make jokes about how he feels safer knowing that she’s not out in the field, blah blah. He knows that she did what she had to do though. Eve takes Bond upstairs where M informs Bond that he barely passed the certification tests. Mallory is unsure about whether or not Bond should even be an agent. One, he is old, and two, he had the perfect opportunity to get out of the business (with him having been thought dead and all). M informs Mallory that as long as she is still in charge, she will choose her agents. Mallory leaves, with a look at her (because of the “as long as I’m in charge” thing). Tanner just kind of jumps right over the awkward moment and tells Bond that they analyzed the bullet fragments. Apparently they’re made out of something really rare and luckily the CIA has been tracking some people that use them. Bond identifies one of the men as the man he fought on the train. His name is Patrice (Ola Rapace) and has an alert on his CIA file that they know he will be in Shanghai in two days. So M sends Bond to Shanghai to find out who Patrice is working for and what he did with the hard drive. Before he leaves, Bond asks if M wants to tell him anything, and she says no. Bond goes to meet with his new… helper agent person? I forgot what they’re called. The one that watches Bond’s back from MI6 and gives him stuff. Whatever. His name is Q (Ben Wishaw) and he is a young man. So more old and young jokes…. but they like each other. Q gives bond his passport, ticket to Shanghai, and a gun that only responds to Bond’s handprint and a small tiny radio that if activated sends out a distress signal and everyone will come aid him.
In Shanghai, Bond chills out for a while, and gets a text alerting him to the flight that Patrice is on. He follows Patrice to a building, which is actually super cool. It’s a high rise building with ads on the side of it, so watching inside, with it dark outside is very visually striking. Bond follows Patrice up to a floor, by grabbing on to the bottom of an elevator. It’s clear Bond is older than he used to be because he does have a hard time holding on. But anyway, he sees that Patrice is getting ready to shoot someone in a building across the way. A woman is seen leading the man in the across the street building to a chair, and revealing a painting to him, and then Patrice shoots him through the head. Bond attacks the man, they fight, and it ends up with the man falling off the side of the building before Bond can find out who he works for. The woman sees the whole thing go down, but doesn’t seem very surprised that shit was going down at the street. She wasn’t surprised when the man got shot in the head either (indicating that she was working with Patrice). Bond goes through Patrice’s stuff and finds a poker chip that ends up sending him to Macau to find out where it came from.
Back in London, M is on her home computer and all of a sudden a slot machine image pops up on her computer. The slot machine runs and reveals 5 skulls. It then takes her to a youtube link… the youtube video has 5 secret agents undercover names and their REAL names. Oh shit. She calls Tanner to tell him to get those agents out NOW. The video also says that each week 5 new names will be released. Oh shitttttt.
While waiting to go to the casino, Bond is getting ready… and gets a knock at his door. Eve is there! They do more awkward flirting, but she says that M sent her to deliver a message… the message is about the hard drive. So Bond knows the situation is even more desperate now. There is an awkward and yet somehow sexy shaving scene between Eve and Bond…. and more old jokes… about how sometimes doing things the old way is better, and blah blah, and then there’s a kind of sexual old dogs learning new tricks reference… it’s weird. But whatever. At the casino, which is also strikingly beautiful (the trailer has a scene of his entrance, standing on a boat through waters filled with lanterns). Inside the casino, Eve is already there and the two are communicating while watching each others backs. Bond has to keep telling Eve little tricks to help make her a better agent, like “don’t touch your ear” whenever he talks to her. Bond goes up to the main counter and asks to cash in the chip that he has – the one he found in Patrice’s stuff. The woman says she’ll be right back, and Bond observes as a woman, seemingly in charge, gets alerted to Bond’s presence. It is the woman from the rooftop. Bond is then given his value of the chip – a briefcase full of money. Lots of money. He also gets a few chips “on the house”. He walks over to a craps table and watches the game and is then joined by the mysterious woman. She flirts with him and asks to talk to him, saying that he can now afford to buy her a drink. They go have a drink, with Bond drinking his martini. We see the martini being made (shaken, of course), but don’t see him order it. The woman reveals herself as Severine (Berenice Marlohe). She was wondering who would come to cash in that chip. Bond asks her who she is working for but she won’t answer him. They keep flirting for a good amount of time then she starts to get up to leave. Bond grabs her wrist though and turns it over. He explains that he noticed the whole time she was talking she kept looking over at her three bodyguards. He thinks that they’re not protecting her, but more of watching her and keeping her under control. He noticed the tattoo on her wrist – a brothel tattoo, that meant she must have been a prostitute from a young age. Bond tells her he can tell she is scared, but pretending not to be – and that her boss must have saved her from the brothels…. but it’s clear she is terrified of him. She relents and tells Bond that if he can escape the casino (they are going to kill him once he tries to leave) and meet her at the docks in an hour, she will take him to her boss. She wants to escape him, obviously since she’s so terrified of her boss. But we still don’t know who it is!
Severine leaves, and Bond starts to walk out but is attacked by the three guards. He easily takes out one, and then ends up falling into a pit with a komodo dragon with another one…. the komodo dragon helps Bond out and bites the crap out of the other guy and drags him off. One guard is left, but Eve takes care of that guard. Severine waits on the boat for Bond, and believes he didn’t make it so she goes to take a shower… and then Bond appears… and makes it a hot and steamy shower… ow ow! The next morning, Bond goes upstairs… and I’m not 100% sure what happened (I was dying to pee), but apparently Severine’s boss found out Bond was on the boat… and they gain control of Bond. He does though, luckily have time to activate his little radio thing that Q gave him. The boat stops at a nearby island off the coast of Macau and there we meet our villain…. Silva (Javier Bardem… as a blonde).
I walked in just in time from my pee break to see Silva come in all Rocky Horror style… in an elevator…. and walk up to Bond giving this big long speech about rats that eat each other blah blah blah. So results of this speech – Silva used to be an agent at MI6. He was stationed in Hong Kong, I believe he said, for like 20 years. He tells Bond that he (Silva) used to be M’s favorite. But after having been tortured for 5 months and never giving up her secrets – he realized – M was the one lying to him. He asks Bond if M has ever lied to him. Bond says no, and then Silva starts off on a rant about how, yes, she does. Just take the agent examinations in fact. Bond thinks he barely passed with a 70. Nope, really, he got a 40. He failed the athletic tests, psych evals, the shooting test, etc. He asks Bond how he can stand to work for someone that lies so much. He tells Bond about all his cool little station can do. He has TONS of servers and computer things set up, and just from his office he can hack into anything, find out missions that amuse him, and go on his own missions. He asks Bond if he would like to do that. Silva then (I told you, you never know wtf you’re getting from him), kneels down in front of Bond – he starts to rub Bond’s knees, unbutton his shirt, caress his face. He points out that right now Bond is going through is own head trying to think of what to do in this situation… then he makes a joke about how it’s Bonds first time and Bond says “Who says it’s my first time?” and Silva backs off, laughing, because that was a great response. He walks super flamboyantly for a minute but then goes back into his normal “I’m Javier Bardem and I’m AWESOME” swagger. They untie Bond from the chair and he follows Silva outside.
Outside, there is music playing and Silva explains that this island was abandoned – and a lot of weird stuff remains, because people didn’t know what to take. I forgot what song was playing, but it fit VERY well into the situation that was about to go down. They round a corner and we see Severine beaten up and tied up, leaning against a wall. Silva decides to play a game, and pours some 50 year old whiskey, apparently one of Bond’s favorites, Silva says. He goes and puts the shot glass on top of Severine’s head and says the first one to make the glass fall off her head wins… and Silva is so nice, he’s even going to let Bond go first. He gives Bond a pistol, and the body guards are holding a gun to Bond’s head to make sure he doesn’t do anything crazy, and Bond aims…. his hand is still shaking though, like it did in the examination room earlier. He shoots, and completely misses the glass on Severeines head. Silva just points the gun at Severine, shoots her in the head, and causes the glass to fall (because she’s dead… duh). Silva then gives some other “I’m Silva and I’m badass” speech, and then Bond takes a moment of distraction as his chance, and manages to take out all the guards. Silva watches in amazement, and then asks Bond if he’s planning on just bringing him into MI6 all by himself… Bond pulls out his little radio, and says that, no, he has help. Right at that moment (of course!) a number of helicopters appear above them.
Back at MI6, M heads to go talk to Silva. He is clearly ecstatic to see her and keeps saying how much he missed her. She informs him that he will be going to prison, forever, and she will never come see him again. He then goes off on a story about how when he was tortured for those 5 months he never gave up her secrets. But he was finally to his breaking point, and decided to release the cyanide capsule hidden in his back left molar. He broke the tooth and released the cyanide. But, he didn’t die. He had to feel his insides burning but not dying. Does M know what happens when you don’t die because of that? What liquid cyanide does to your face? He reaches into his mouth and pulls out what looks like dentures – but it also has a metal part attached to it… The cyanide ate away most of the left side of Silva’s face. The metal plate is a replacement cheekbone for him. His teeth are all gone and he looked disgusting. M leaves, and Silva is left alone laughing with his gross face all fucked up.
M, Tanner, Eve, and Mallory now head to a parliament building. They are having a trial with the prime minister, Clair Dowar (Helen McCrory), to decide if anything should happen to MI6 after all the recent events (hard drive stolen, names released, agents dead, etc.). Q and Bond stay at headquarters and start going through Silva’s computer. He is using some weird encryption thing that is so detailed apparently only 6 people in the world know how to do it. Bond asks Q if he knows how to do it… Q says that he invented them. They go to work, eventually undo the key, and a map of underground London appears…. they wonder why he would have a map… and then oh shit, random doors start opening everywhere in MI6…. Bond realizes super fast what is happening and runs to where Silva is being held. Q screams HOW DID HE GET INTO OUR SYSTEM?! And looks down at Silva’s laptop… which is literally plugged into their system…. so oh shit, Silva wanted to be captured all along. Bond finds that Silva has already escaped and follows a trail of dead guards to an underground entrance – they go on a merry chase through the underground. Q guides Bond…. blah blah… Silva has accomplices dressed as policemen who help him out… he gets dressed as a policeman…… There is a moment where Bond seems to have cornered Silva, but Silva makes a joke about a radio, and blows a hole in the ceiling… Bond says “I hope that wasn’t for me…” and Silva says ‘nope, but this is!’ and about that time an underground train falls through the ceiling. Oh shit. Silva keeps going – where is he going – to the parliament building – where M is.
This whole time Q has been sending desperate messages to Tanner to get M to safety, but they are in the middle of the trial. Dowar is just ripping MI6 apart and criticizing them. Mallory actually stands up for M and asks Dowar to at least give M a chance to talk. She gives this big awesome speech (while Tanner receives more and more messages from Q), about how they are necessary and blah blah, and the whole time we see Silva and a couple of his men start to come into the building and taking down everyone. It was a very well shot scene – but had a very Dark Knight feel to it. I liked it, don’t get me wrong but I kept thinking that I was about to get the Joker or Bane or something to appear. So the speech finishes, and of course Silva comes bursting in. Shots are exchanged, and Silva aims right at M, but Mallory jumps up and takes a bullet in the shoulder to protect her. Way to go Mallory. He’s been such a douche, but good job now man! More shots are exchanged, Tanner is covering M, and then finally Bond shows up and takes control of the situation. He manages to shoot some fire extinguishers, which creates a distraction for M to get out of the building. Tanner rushes her to the car, puts her inside, and goes to get in the other side, but the car speeds off. It’s Bond driving it. He explains that they are going somewhere safe – and that only they can know where it is. He calls Q and tells him to leave breadcrumbs for Silva to follow – but breadcrumbs that ONLY Silva would be able to figure out. Bond and M go to get another car – the beautiful Aston Martin DB5, complete with even the same license plate as in Goldfinger. Win! Bond explains that all the agency cars have trackers…. M laughs and says that “oh yeah this will be less conspicuous” and they go off on a drive. They kind of joke in the car, and at one point while M gives Bond shit, he threatens her with the ejector seat (jokingly).
While Q and Tanner work on the breadcrumbs for Silva (with full approval from Mallory, surprisingly), Bond and M make it to their destination…. Skyfall Manor… where Bond grew up in Scotland. The manor was sold after Bond died, but Kincade (Albert Finney) is still the grounds keeper. Bond tells Kincade that some men are coming to kill him and M – and that they need some help. First they kind of just look around the house, we learn about Bond’s past. He lived in this house until his parents died. Kincade shows M the tunnel under the house where Bond hid for 2 days after their death. The tunnel leads out to the middle of the field – and then it’s nearby the chapel where Bond’s parents are buried. Bond asks if they still have a gun room – Kincade tells Bond that everything was sold – except his fathers hunting rifle. Bond goes out and does a practice couple of shots, and NOW is spot on with his aim. The grand total of their weapons is the guns Bond and M had with them (like 2 hand guns), the fathers rifle, Kincades rifle, and a knife. Another “old” joke comes in about how the old ways are better sometimes… foreshadowing? Of course!
The three then get to work – Home Alone style. Not kidding. I leaned over to my dad and said that I felt like all that was missing was Macaulay Culkin. Kincade sets up a sawed off shotgun in one room, ready to go when he needs it, M makes some nail bombs and puts them into the lights – ala trap number 2 in Saw 5 – and Bond makes some floorboards with shotgun shells under them, or something. Then they just sit and wait. At dusk, Silva’s men have arrived. They storm the house and just start shooting at it with their machine guns. Bond is hiding in the car, and pushes a button and the car mows down a couple of the people. Then a good amount of fighting occurs. The nail bombs go off, Kincade shoots people and is awesome, etc. At one point M is cornered, and we see her have a near miss… or possibly get shot… you can’t really tell, but then Bond comes and shoots the guy shooting at her. About that time, most of the croonies are dead, and Bond wonders where Silva is…. and then we hear music playing… Boom Boom by the Animals. It’s INCREDIBLE. Silva is flying in, on a helicopter equipped with machine guns, while playing this song…. right at the “gonna shoot you right down” part…. so great. He starts just completely mowing down the house…. Bond shoots out the window and tells M and Kincade to take the tunnel and get to the chapel. They go. Silva gets off the helicopter, and it keeps shooting, and Bond rigs a bomb with some propane tanks and the two sticks of dynamite that Kincade had just lying around. M and Kincade are out of the tunnel, and now venturing across the way to the chapel. It’s clear now that M was in fact shot, and is bleeding from her side and is already having trouble walking. Bond gets in the tunnel and starts running as fast as he can – and the bomb goes off – and the manor explodes. It explodes hard enough that Bond barely misses getting hit underground – and the flying bricks manage to take down the helicopter. They miss Silva, and a couple of his croonies on the ground though… how that makes sense, I’ll never know. So anyway, Silva looks back and sees a flashlight moving off in the distance – so he knows where M is. He starts heading towards the chapel.
Bond gets out of the tunnel and starts running towards the chapel. There is a shortcut across a frozen lake and he starts running. Almost to the end, Silva pops out from behind a bush. He talks to Bond again about rats and how he’s won and blah blah blah, and one of his croonies is standing right behind Bond with a gun. Silva says he has to go kill M now, and walks off. Bond grabs the gun from the croonie as he shoots it and points it at the ice… the two fall into the water below and wrestle for a while, but of course, Bond wins. He has a hard time finding the hole in the ice but finds a flare gun on the now dead croonie and shoots it up at the ice, revealing the hole.
In the chapel, M is sitting down, Kincade isn’t anywhere visible, and Silva appears. He is giving M the speech about how he loved her and she did great things for him (like a mother would) but she lied and now it’s time that they die together. Kincade appears, unaware of what is going on, but Silva just shushes him. Silva grabs M and discovers that she is shot and is clearly upset. He is astonished at “what those men did to her” (even though they were his men), and then pulls up his gun to her head. He grabs her hand and puts it on the gun and leans with his head next to hers. He wants her to shoot them both at the same time. He keeps telling her to do it, then we hear a noise, and we see Bond in the back – having thrown a knife (told you it was foreshadowing!) into Silva’s back. He stumbles towards Bond for a minute, and dies. Bond then runs to M – realizes she’s been shot, but it’s too late…. some heartfelt moment goes by, and M dies. Aw sad.
Sometime later we see Bond on a rooftop looking over London. Eve comes up behind him, comments on the view, and tells him that M’s will was read today – she left him this ugly ass little dog thing that was always on her desk that Bond always hated. Eve then tells him that someone is waiting for him. She goes to her new office (she decided field work just wasn’t for her), as the assistant to the new director of the agents…… Mallory! He is the new “M” and asks Bond if he’s ready for his next mission. Of course he is!
Bond music plays, and credits start to roll.
A smarter, more political thriller Bond movie with great visuals and a terrific villain. Fans of the Bond films will enjoy it as well as newcomers to the series (do those exist?) or people who just want a good action film that is smart.