Skyfall: James Bond turns 50 but hasn’t aged a bit
- Sam Mendes successfully takes on the James Bond legacy fifty years after Licence to kill with Sean Connery
For 007’s fifty years on the big screen, French publication Rue89 published a rather entertaining vignette by Hervé Baudry. The picture depicts an anxious James Bond sitting in an armchair wearing slippers and plaid, saying "May name is...My name is... F***!".
The director of Skyfall [+see also:
film profile], Sam Mendes, took on a similar mentality for the secret agent’s 23rd adventure. To keep the legend alive, he ironically used senility as one of his film’s recurring themes. Throughout the film, Daniel Craig faces jokes surrounding retirement, the unavoidability of time, traditional values, changing times, and teaching old dogs new tricks. Cinema is fiction, and we all know that running after spies is old hat - something Javier Bardem who plays the baddy is quick to point out. Today fighting happens from a distance: you can destabilize multinationals through its shares and interrupt a nation’s entire communication network through a satellite. But the Bond who gets his Aston Martin DB5 out of the garage and defends himself with an old hunting gun reminds us that going to have a pizza with your friends after seeing a film is always better than posting comments on Facebook from behind your desk. You cannot but help to agree with him.
In Skyfall, MI6 is under attack by a cyber terrorist who is looking to destroy M, James Bond’s boss (Judi Dench, playing this role for the seventh time). James Bond kicks off the film by seemingly dying after a chase in the Istanbul Grand Bazaar. The scene then reverts to London where M’s office is blown to pieces, moving onto Shanghai, to finally end up in Scotland, where Fleming thought James Bond’s family should be from and where a final duel is fought. Playing next to 007 is a beautiful agent named Eve (Naomie Harris), while this year’s Bond Girl is Bérénice Marlohe, who is half Cambodian, half French. The former child prostitute has been taken prisoner by former MI6 agent Silva, who is seeking revenge. After playing a psychopathic killer named Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men, by the Coen brothers, Javier Bardem hits all the right notes as a mentally disturbed assassin. In Skyfall he sends M messages on her computer such as "think over your sins", calling her mother from his crystal cage, in a style reminiscent of Hannibal Lecter. It will come as no surprise then, that Skyfall’s director of photography is English Roger Deakins, who worked on five films with the Coen brothers, including No Country For Old Men.
Indeed, photography is the film’s best aspect. Thanks to Deakins and the digital Arro Alexa he used, Skyfall’s visual entertainment is without fault. Craig was the one who, together with Michale G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, asked his friend Sam Mendes to give 007 a try. The refined director who comes from the world of theatre accepted to take the 200 million dollar venture on. The twelve first minutes alone took three months of trials and two months of filming. Nothing has been left to chance. Adele is behind the Bond song, a singer worthy of Shirley Bassey, Nancy Sinatra and Madonna, and 85 Tom Ford suits were used for Bond’s opening scene.
(Translated from Italian)
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