Film Review: SKYFALL

International release date: October 23, 2012
U.S. release date: November 9, 2012
Starring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Berenice Marlohe.
Written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan
Directed by Sam Mendes
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 2 hours 23 minutes

The twenty-third official James Bond movie opens with Bond chasing an assassin who has stolen a list which, when decrypted, reveals the names of several NATO spies in the field.. Desperate to recover the list, M (Dench) orders a sniper to fire as Bond and the assassin fight hand-to-hand.. The shot erroneously hits Bond, plunging him into a river, presumably to his death. As M faces dismissal for losing the list, MI6 headquarters is bombed, and Bond turns up at M’s apartment to help sort things out.

Skyfall’s release falls on the fiftieth anniversary of the first Bond movie, Dr. No, and everyone—from the actors, to the writers, to the director—rises to the occasion. Bond girls Naomie Harris and Berenice Marlohe are both beautiful and turn in memorable performances, as do villain Javier Bardem, Q Ben Whishaw, and Ralph Fiennes, who plays overseer of the inquiry into M.

Skyfall isn’t perfect; it has some pacing lulls. But more important, it returns to the excitement of Craig’s first Bond movie, Casino Royale, rebounding from his middling second outing, Quantum of Solace. It also nods slyly to earlier Bond movies and delves into Bond’s origins more deeply than the rest—quite the anniversary present for Bond fans.

Gerald So