The 23rd installment of the James Bond franchise, Skyfall, seizes you in a wrangling grip from from its first scene with a destructive game of cat-and-mouse (on stolen motorcycles) over an exotic skyline in Istanbul.
Audiences are familiar with the bullets, the bombs, and the Bond girls, so what has earned this one recognition as the best yet by film critics from The Washington Post, CBS, and ABC? Besides the ultimate one-liners, well-tailored suits, and action scenes that keep you in a chokehold of suspense, it is Bond’s psychological vulnerability about his age and his relevance in espionage that set him apart from the past Bonds. His self doubts both haunt and humanize him.
The movie opens with Bond on a vital mission to recover a stolen hard drive containing the identities of almost all the undercover NATO agents. Meanwhile, computer based terrorist attacks directed at the M Head of MI6 (British Secret Intelligence Service) plague London.
Bond must hunt down the drive and untangle the mystery behind the threats. He journeys to Shanghai, where he tracks down the criminal mastermind, Raoul Silva, whose tragic past is the pretext for his plot against MI6, and more specifically M. The British struggle to keep up with Silva, who specializes in elusive cyberterrorism. Silva’s gregariousness and schemes provide an entertaining contrast to Bond’s “old dog” ways.
Mounting evidence against the effectiveness of field agents strains M16’s reputation. Invisible targets are hard to hit. As terrorism finds root on computers, more faith is put on digital efforts. Bond, thus, struggles to adjust to a world in which the response to global security is less “Bring in Bond” and more “Where’s the computer technician?”
Bond, for the first time, sees his age as grounds for insecurity-not proof of mastery, yet Skyfall over delivers in action and suspense while providing a satisfying psychological plot.
Written by Maddie Vaziri”16