Maximilian Birkner, Contributor Ω
Last night I saw Skyfall. My head is still spinning.
The film begins appropriately with a motorcycle chase in that classic Third World setting.
Surprise, surprise, 007 is in dire straits again because of a girl (Naomie Harris) – a very important girl, as we will soon find out.
It’s not the first time Bond has died. This time he uses it to take time off on an island paradise with women and Scotch for company before returning to England after a bomb attack on MI6
In London, themes from the past are dug up. The fight in the “shadows” is a young man’s game. Can Bond continue to measure up in the modern world? After all, exploding pens aren’t standard issue anymore and even Q is younger.
The story continues to Shanghai, which reminds us of the timeliness of the Bond enterprise. In Quantum of Solace, problems lay in the dwindling world water supply. In the newest success, director Sam Mendes takes us straight to the rising Red Dragon.
Under the flashing neons of the booming Chinese metropolis, and later in Macau, Bond takes control of his destiny. There is the obligatory casino scene, an Asian siren (Bérénice Marlohe), and a journey by sailboat to an abandoned city where Bond comes face-to-face with Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem) the latest sociopath, out to dominate the world in a glaringly modern way. Forget the nukes, this villain does it online.
Suitably, the latest and greatest finale brings us back to the old country. We almost wonder why no Bond film already did this. After a brief incarceration at MI6, Silva breaks free and adds subway derailments to his record in the London underground.
Then, on a moor in Scotland, Bond returns to his roots, in an Aston Martin DB5 complete with ejector seats. The sentiment only holds for so long. Soon a mansion is ablaze, a helicopter gunship does its thing and 007 strides unhampered through the exploding masonry, utterly himself.
When we have survived the shocking climax – very shocking because of that sick twist we all knew had to happen – the conclusion is just as rapturous. In a cyclical closing scene, the man with the license to kill feeds us one more critical detail and leaves us white-knuckled, panting for the next one.