Tag Archive: shootout


Skyfall Review

The arrival of a new James Bond film is always treated as a special occasion because the Bond films hold such a high place of regard in the history of film. Never has that been more true than this year with the arrival of Bond 23: Skyfall. 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of James Bond on screen and with the amount of time fans have been waiting Skyfall has to be something exceptional… and it is.

Skyfall sees M come under review and her ability to head up the Secret Service in doubt. This is after the Secret Service’s intelligence is broken and a list of agents has been stolen and in attempt to retrieve that list Bond has gone missing, presumed dead. However, when the Service itself comes under attack at the hands of suspected terrorists Bond is drawn back to London only to find that the person behind the attacks, Raoul Silva, claims a personal connection to both Bond and M, which forces Bond to question his loyalty to M.

Director Sam Mendes’ take on the world’s most famous spy marks the first time that an academy award winning director has taken the helm of a James Bond flick. Citing Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight as one of the main influences on his take on the film you could tell that he was clearly going to make sure he put in a shift directing Skyfall. And he does not disappoint. Skyfall is shot superbly and combines a rare treat in Bond films of giving the characters equal billing with the action sequences, without one outweighing the other.

Right from the very first sequence, which includes a motorbike chase over rooftops as well as a shootout on a train, the bar is set very high. The set pieces are absolutely wonderful, explosions galore all the way through the film but this is not just action for the sake of it which is clear by the amount of emphasis put on characters throughout the film. Mendes manages to really add layers to Bond, M and the villain of the piece Raoul Silva and it is brilliant to watch these characters grow throughout the film.

Many fans of the James Bond series say that a Bond film is only as good as the villain and Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva delivers a villain not easily forgotten. As a rogue agent he is an equal match physically for Bond but his intellect is on a rather high level too and it seems as though his resources are endless. There is something incredibly creepy and sinister about the character and this performance is easily the best of the film. Although perhaps too much was put in to Bardem’s character because it seems as though the Bond girls were somewhat forgotten. After seeing all the promotional shots for the film I was expecting both Naomie Harris and Bérénice Marlohe to play a much larger part in Skyfall than they actually did and it seemed to render their characters almost irrelevant other than to have something nice to look at.

Is it Sean Connery? Is it Roger Moore? The debate goes on and on among fan communities about who is the best Bond and with Skyfall Daniel Craig goes a long way to stamping out any doubt that would deny him of the accolade. Craig is a wonderful fit the Bond role, he’s a rough and ready guy with a charm to him; he delivers his one liners excellently and you can’t help but like his portrayal. Couple that with the fact that Craig actually is a very very good actor and you get a great combination of on screen presence. And I have to mention that Ben Whishaw certainly pulls off the Q role perfectly.

Skyfall is a Bond film that, for me, stands alone above the rest. It does a great deal in differentiating itself from the rest of the films and makes sure it is better than Quantum of Solace. The opening sequence, the soundtrack, the title sequence; everything is wonderful. And I deny anyone to at least get a smile on their face when the famous James Bond music kicks in the middle of a scene. Skyfall is full of twists, turns and huge explosions that comes to its conclusion with a fantastic, yet incredibly surprising, ending. Enjoy!

My Rating: 9/10.

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Can Shia LaBeouf really act? How much does Gary Oldman need to be in a film to make a lasting impression? How tough can a man in a cardigan really be? These are all questions that Lawless poses and answers in it’s running time. Lawless is a post-western gangster flick based on the novel The Wettest County in the World: during the prohibition era the Bondurant brothers run a liquor bootlegging operation but new crooked Special Deputy Charles Rakes is after a share of the profits. The backbone of the story is the coming of age journey of the youngest brother, Jack Bondurant.

Jack Bondurant is played by Shia LaBeouf and this performance soon put to bed any doubts I had about his ability to be taken serious as an actor, I think that Lawless will be the film that builds the bases for LaBeouf’s future audition tapes because he is surprisingly good! However, he isn’t good enough to steal the show, despite being the main character. Guy Pearce was the stand out performer among an all star cast as the villain Charles Rakes; Pearce is incredibly good that as the film goes on you just can’t help but actually be filled with genuine hate towards his character. Gary Oldman manages to make sure his part of the film, although small, is unforgettable; Oldman pretty much picks up a check for shooting a car to pieces and hitting someone in the face with a shovel. Job done. Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska do their jobs well to stand up well in a very testosterone driven film and the latter is definitely going to steal some hearts with this performance.

Tom Hardy who is having a terrific career puts in a performance just as good as any he has done before. He doesn’t have a lot to say as his character, the leader of the Bondurant boys Forrest Bondurant, isn’t much of a talker but as everyone soon finds out, if you anger him you will know about it. It is Tom Hardy that really proves that even though a man is wearing a cardigan he can still kick your ass ten times over before you even have time to raise a fist in defence. The real quality of Hardy’s performance comes in his timing and delivery which is perfect all the way through the film. There is a running joke (sort of a myth or a legend rather than laugh out loud puns) that the Bondurant boys are invincible, immortal or indestructible and after a few scenes with Forrest Bondurant you certainly believe this to be true.

I have read that the script has been accused of being lazily written in places but I found Lawless to be very well written; it was slow paced that led up to a big ending in the final act with enough action in between to keep everyone happy. Guy Pearce and Shia LaBeouf have a great fight scene which is one of the best and most genuine I have seen for a while. The relationships between the Bondurant brothers and their dynamic is really what makes Lawless interesting and the character development throughout is wonderful.

The final act comes down to what most gangster films end with. A gun fight. A lot of the time I am not a big fan of a shoot out because I don’t really find them that exciting, I would much rather see people going toe to toe in hand to hand combat but I found that the amount of care you had invested in the central characters did enough to make the shoot out a riveting watch as you jump around in your seat hoping and praying that none of your favourite characters are going to die and you can do nothing but wish and wish and wish that Pearce’s villain finally gets his comeuppance.

Lawless isn’t for everyone, but it was certainly for me.

My Rating: 8/10.