I offer a first impression of Skyfall in my TOH/Indiewire column. James Bond has always been about looking forward and back at the same time, but never more so than in Skyfall, which is both a homecoming and a breakthrough for the 50th anniversary.
In fact, it’s all about exploring the old and the new. That’s the central metaphor; it’s embedded in every ambiguous moment. It was worth the extra year taken to craft the script, do the prep, and hone every delicious detail into an organic whole. Of course, it helps to have Javier Bardem as a flamboyant baddie with a personal grudge that’s right up there with Dr. No and Goldfinger, or cinematographer Roger Deakins providing such visual elegance. It’s not just a matter of making Bond more relevant. Sam Mendes has deconstructed Bond so well with screenwriter John Logan in order to elevate him dramatically. You have to know the rules before you can break them. Or in this case, transcend them. As a result, Mendes has not only made a great Bond movie but also a great movie. Period. Forget Bourne. Bond is now as thematically rich as The Dark Knight.