Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Brief, Initial, Non-Spoiler-y Look At “Skyfall” (2012)

There is a scene early on in “Skyfall” that is static and long—both strange qualities for a shot in such a high action film. In it we see Bond lying next to a partially clothed woman, staring off into space, and drinking a Heineken. It is like a commercial break. “This film is brought to you by Heineken. What? You find it difficult to believe Bond is having a beer and not a martini? Beer pays better.”

Well, it may be possible to forgive Bond for selling out (and he’s been doing it for years anyway) if it means we get good action. We do. This film’s opening set piece is at least as good as that foot chase in “Casino Royale” and far better than any of the incomprehensible stuff from “Quantum.” And there is a scene involving an elevator that left my palms sweaty and my heart racing.

This isn’t just a thrill of a Bond; it is almost a work of art visually. This may be the best bit of cinematography Bond has had in fifty years, and he has always had good camera work. The color pallets, the lighting, the sets… this is really good stuff.

If there is one complaint to be found here, it is in the script. Not that the story is poor. However, like many Bonds it does feel at times like two or three very different (albeit good) films have been glued together. Here the bigger problem, though, is that this film can’t decide what it thinks about the whole espionage endeavor. Is espionage a necessary evil, just plain evil or a good thing that keeps us all safe? That discussion must be saved for the full analysis if it ever comes.

For now, this is a good film—as Bond films go—and it brings Craig’s Bond full circle, from the pages of “Casino Royale” to the good, old film version.

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