by Patrick O’Connor
I’M not a great lover of James Bond films, finding them too contrived and flimsy. In the past, they have been a classic example of style over substance but I have to admit to having being won over by the latest in the franchise, Skyfall.
Of course, many of the usual Bond ingredients are there – the hyper-exciting opening sequence and chase; the spectacular settings and the obligatory super-arch villain.
But they are all put together so well by director Sam Mendes that Skyfall has enough going for it without needing all the Bond baggage as a foundation stone.
Daniel Craig is superb as the craggy spy 007 and the characterisation of Bond is far deeper than the usual superficial profile; Judi Dench gives a classy performance as M and then, there is Javier Bardem as a former M16 officer turned rogue.
Now many people would remember Bardem as the chilling hitman in No Country For Old Men but with this villain he tops even that performance.
There is one highly charged homo-erotic interrogation scene between the two men when Bond is held captive which is worth the cinema admission charge alone.
Wisely, Mendes has decided not to fill the screen with bountiful Bond beauties, Skyfall is taken much too seriously for that.
There is a absence of gadgets as well – this Bond film is definitely one for grown-ups. Can’t wait for the next.