When a computer hard drive containing the names of undercover agents in terrorist cells across the world is stolen, ready to be put on sale to the highest bidder, MI6 sends James Bond to retrieve it. The failed mission ends with Bond being shot and presumed dead but when MI6 headquarters are attacked, Bond returns to England to go back on active duty, despite struggling to pass the physical and psychological tests required. Bond discovers that the man behind everything is a dangerous former MI6 agent and that the security of undercover agents may not be the only thing at stake.
Skyfall (2012) – Director: Sam Mendes
Running Length: 143 mins
Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem
Genre: Thriller, Action
‘Skyfall’ is the twenty third James Bond movie and the third to star Daniel Craig as the eponymous hero. Making the story personal to both Bond and M brings a unique insight into their lives which has never been seen before, creating an interesting thread to the plot that twists and turns as a wonderfully warped Javier Bardem (who plays Silva, the antagonist) hatches his carefully constructed plans. Bond himself appears older and more tired; the gunshot wound that almost kills him takes its toll and makes him more vulnerable, especially when he faces such a force of nature in Silva who relentlessly pursues his goals. Bond now has to rely on his wits and intelligence rather than strength and cold ambition to get the job done.
While Craig and Dench turn out star performances as usual, it is Bardem who steals the show as a charismatic villain whose obsession with revenge makes him extremely dangerous. Much of the James Bond lore which has mostly been missing from the other two Bond reboot movies (‘Casino Royale’ and ‘Quantum of Solace’) is brought back to the fore but is done in a nicely subtle way. It is also a good touch that, while there are a couple of young, attractive women in ‘Skyfall’, it is ‘M’ who is the main ‘Bond girl’ as she takes up most of Bond’s attention and, rather than being stuck behind her desk, she shows that she is perfectly competent out in the field. ‘Skyfall’ is a fantastic movie that can be enjoyed by both fans of Bond and those who simply enjoy a good action-based thriller.
IS ‘SKYFALL’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
The opening scene is set in Istanbul as Bond attempts to retrieve the stolen hard drive. He walks into a room and sees a body lying face down on the floor with a pool of blood around their head. He then sees a colleague who has been badly wounded and tries to stop the bleeding. However, he is ordered to ‘leave him’ in order to continue the pursuit and he does so, albeit reluctantly. It is later revealed that this character dies from his wounds.
While Bond is thought to be dead, he lives on a tropical island. There is a short, 5 second shot of intimacy between him and a woman as they kiss against a wall; they are then seen lying in bed together. Bond is then seen playing a drinking game at a bar where he has to take a drink while a scorpion sits on the hand which is holding the glass. The following morning, Bond is still nursing a drink at the bar and sees a news report on the TV which explains that 6 people were killed and many others have been injured in the attack on MI6.
When Bond follows the trail to Macau, he and fellow MI6 agent, Eve, have a very flirtatious exchange. She shaves his face with a cut-throat razor and he begins to undress her but she stops him as she needs to concentrate on what she is doing. It is left ambiguous as to whether they sleep together but they continue to flirt during their mission. Bond then meets a beautiful woman who is surrounded by bodyguards. He speaks to her and discovers a tattoo on her wrist. This distinguishes her as part of the Macau sex trade and Bond asks ‘how old were you? 11, 12?’ regarding when she was first sold to a particular ‘house’. Shortly afterwards, the scene moves to a ship and the woman is seen taking a shower (the lighting and steam hides any nudity). Bond approaches her from behind, putting his face close to hers. She then turns around and they kiss for a few seconds before the camera cuts away.
When Bond first meets Silva, he is tied to a chair and Silva tells him a story about how his grandmother dealt with a rat infestation. This involved the rats being forced into a barrel which lead to them eating each other when the food ran out. He approaches Bond and opens his shirt slightly to see the scars on his chest. Silva then gently touches Bond’s face and neck and strokes his legs in a suggestive manner. Bond is clearly uncomfortable with this. Silva then shows Bond how callous he is when he kills a character that Bond cares about without a second’s thought. Later in the movie, Silva explains why he turned against MI6. He explains that he was captured and tortured for information before attempting suicide by cyanide. To emphasise his point, Silva pulls a form of brace out of his mouth and shows how the cyanide ravaged his features; his cheek caves in and his eye droops down. This is quite a shocking moment and could be quite disturbing for young children.
CAN I SEE A CLIP?
After ‘Quantum of Solace’ being quite a disappointing and confusing movie, ‘Skyfall’ is a return to form. There’s barely a moment to take a breath due to the twisting and turning of the storyline. The simplicity of Silva’s motivation ensures that the movie never becomes too bogged down in complex plot and it is easy to follow from start to finish. As ‘Skyfall’ is not a movie which has been aimed at kids, we would not recommend it for children aged under 10.
- Violence: 4/5 (mostly people being shot and killed, there is little blood or gore. One scene shows several people watching a news report where an MI6 agent is about to be executed. The agent is dragged out by two men and has a sack over his head, one of the men then holds a gun to the agent’s head but the report is stopped before they are killed)
- Emotional Distress: 4/5 (more than one established character is killed. After the attack on MI6, M is seen looking at several coffins which have been draped with the Union flag and is clearly hiding her feelings of upset. When a character dies towards the end, another character cradles them in their arms and cries)
- Fear Factor: 3/5 (Silva is extremely dangerous and menacing, his demeanour often appears friendly but it hides a callous and evil personality)
- Sexual Content: 3/5
- Bad Language: 3/5 (infrequent mild and moderate cursing and blasphemy. One strong word is used)
- Dialogue: 4/5 (frequent mentions of death, murder and killing)
- Other notes: Deals with themes of revenge, murder, doing what is right, fighting against evil, duty required by your country and acknowledging your weaknesses.
Words by Laura Record