(M) Daniel Craig, Dame Judy Dench, Javier Bardem, 

“Think on your sins.”

This is the message that haunts M (Dame Judi Dench) throughout Skyfall as she grapples with the thought that espionage and the ways of MI6 may be an outdated way of dealing with terrorism.

Bond celebrates his 50th anniversary in this the 23rd Bond film.

Far from looking 50, Daniel Craig, who reprises the role for the third successful time, is one of the most physically commanding actors to play James Bond. His performance as the perennial spy is really the best in the series since Sean Connery.

This film is not so much a reboot of the franchise but in a strange way an origin story. The title is linked to Bond’s childhood as well as giving the film its gripping, visceral climax.

There is plenty of white knuckle action and the requisite one-liners, but this time around Bond’s loyalty is tested when he is accidentally shot during a mission to recover a hard drive containing names of all active agents. Should he come back from the dead or stay in hiding.

Resurrection is his hobby, or so he tells villain Silva (Javier Bardem).

In the end Bond’s loyalty to M and the service brings him back to active duty and back to tracking down computer genius Silva, who has sent MI6 into hiding after a terrorist attack that kills eight people in Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Bardem does the creepy villain well, as his Oscar for No Country for Old Men attests, and he is one of the more complex Bond villains. Perhaps even the best.

Unlike previous outings, where women flung themselves at the feet of Bond, the women in this film are also more complex.

It is certainly one of the best Bond films in a decade or so, with a story that gives the character of Bond some welcome depth, complexity and backstory. Rather than rely on flashy gadgets and stunts, we get Bond stripped back to his Aston Martin and a gun.

The lack of technology for Bond actually becomes one of the film’s funnier continuing jokes.

Considering Quantum of Solace came out in 2008, it’s been a long time between martinis for Bond. This was partly due to the financial problems that have plagued MGM and in effect kept this film in limbo for some time. But it’s great to see Bond back on the big screen.

Adrian Drayton


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