On the chase of a man who acquired a list of MI6 agents, Bond fails to prevent the man’s getaway and goes missing. After an attack on MI6 that causes the agency to go on the defensive, Bond emerges from his escape but has to prove he has not lost his step before getting back out in the field. M sends him on his way to Shanghai, where his skills are quickly tested. After convincing Severine to take him to her keeper, Bond finally learns the identity of the man responsible for the attack on MI6 and its agents, but finds himself in a compromising position. Realizing that he is struggling to keep pace with the intelligent Raoul Silva, Bond decides to use allies from his past and present to finally put an end to the terror inflicted by this new threat.
Starring: Daniel Craig (James Bond), Judi Dench (M), Javier Bardem (Raoul Silva), Ralph Fiennes (Gareth Mallory), Naomie Harris (Eve), Berenice Marlohe (Severine), Albert Finney (Kincade), Ben Whishaw (Q), Rory Kinnear (Tanner), Ola Rapace (Patrice), Helen McCrory (Clair Dowar MP), Nicholas Woodeson (Doctor Hall), Bill Buckhurst (Ronson), Tonia Sotiropoulou (Bond’s Lover)
Returning as the bold but broken MI6 agent, Daniel Craig maintains the tough outer wall of a 00 but also starts to let out a few of his deeper issues not previously displayed in the prior films. Judi Dench plays a slightly more vital role in this film as her character is more directly tied into the story, but viewers also get to see M in action rather than simply running the agency behind a desk. Javier Bardem provides a gripping performance, while at times can seem a little comical, at others he just appears sadistic. Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw make great additions to the cast and all have an opportunity to potential have their characters folded into the storyline in future films.
While Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have returned for the third installment of Craig rendition of James Bond, Sam Mendes takes over directing this pivotal story that guides the continuing direction of the franchise. With Craig’s version of Bond having gone through one film where he gave up everything for love and another where he sought revenge, this third story refocused his attention back toward MI6 and his relationship with M. Having survived a botched manhunt, Bond struggled initially to return to the line of duty. In similar fashion, M struggled to acknowledge the changing of the guard coming with Mallory’s installment in the British Intelligence arena. Sending Bond out to try to clean up the mess of the missing list, MI6 gets more than it bargained for by inciting an attack by a maniacal Raoul Silva. As Bond learns from his interactions with the villain, the two men represent the old guard of secret agents and have a choice to make on whether they fight against or for the system.
The film plays a certain homage to the past with the inclusion of the topic as a story focus and symbols from previous Bond films. The battle between Silva and MI6 is one that is rooted in sour feelings for the painful, lonely life of an agent and a history that between Silva and M. With Silva looking at him and Bond as the survivors of an old breed of agents, his description of their identity as rats scouring for life adds to the gritty battle between them and leads to Bond going back to his roots in Scotland. Bond also brings back the first car made famous in Goldfinger, the Aston Martin DB5. Character-wise, this film finally includes two of the most classic characters of the series not previously highlighted in the Craig-led films, Moneypenny and Q.
This third installment of the newest additions to the franchise does not disappoint with the action, suspense, drama and memorable characters. Daniel Craig could easily go down as the most memorable Bond by the time he finishes his career.
Dan’s Rating: 4.5/5