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Movie review: Skyfall starring Daniel Craig (a James Bond film)

By: Anders Frejdh
Skyfall 2012 daniel craig
Daniel Craig finds "home" as James Bond in SKYFALL - A spoiler-free review of SKYFALL. (The first one in Swedish.)

By Anders Frejdh, Founder and Editor of From Sweden with Love.

James Bond is back at the cinemas in the 23rd film from EON Productions, SKYFALL. For the third time in a row, Daniel Craig plays Ian Fleming's immortal agent 007 with a licence to kill, this time more personal than ever. Craig feels at home and has now made the part his own. Although no one, in my eyes, will ever surpass Sean Connery's elegant and hard version of 007, I would say that Craig is a great actor, perhaps the greatest one in the role.

The title SKYFALL is original and has not come from Ian Fleming's original novels or any of the other Bond books. Without revealing too much, the title has a great significance in the film, based on a screenplay by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and John Logan. We'll see James Bond in situations that we have not seen him before. They can be proud, the script is strong and the film is enormously lavish and well executed.

The film has no connection to the previous two with Craig. It starts with a spectacular and stunning chase sequence in Turkey with spectacular action mastered by the film's stunt coordinator, Gary Powell, and his talented team. One of Sweden's contributions to the film, Ola Rapace in the role of the mysterious Patrice, impresses in the fight with James Bond (Daniel Craig) on top of a speeding train. The clearly impressive opening sequence takes us through Istanbul's busy streets where gridlock is an understatement. Hats off to the production team behind the 2nd Unit lead by Bond veteran Terry Bamber.

The subsequent title sequence is both clever and memorable: Daniel Kleinman returning after his absence from the last film, has created some of the most accomplished titles since he began in 1995, having taken over from Maurice Binder (1925-1991) who put his stamp on 14 of the first 16 Bond title sequences. His work is aided immeasurably by being accompanied by Adele's title song: a classic theme in the Shirley Bassey tradition.

SKYFALL is the second longest James Bond film to date with a 143 minutes running time (CASINO ROYALE, with its 144 minutes, is the longest). Perhaps it is evidence the film makers have reacted to the somewhat criticized QUANTUM OF SOLACE. The delay caused by the studio’s financial woes gave them more time to develop the screenplay. Daniel Craig has been personally involved in the choice of director Sam Mendes and the choice of Javier Bardem who plays Bond's main enemy in the film, Raoul Silva. Bardem does a brilliant performance as Bond villain, without doubt one of the best in the series: nasty, intelligent and crazy.

One of the choices they made for SKYFALL was to bring back "Q". This time, and for the first time, we get to see Ben Whishaw in the role of a younger and more data-oriented Quartermaster. It remains to see what they make of the relationship between 007 and Q but the chemistry between the two actors is there, as well as the humor and respect for each other. I hope it grows into the relationship developed in 17 of the previous films when Q was played by the much-loved actor Desmond Llewelyn (1914-1999).

For the seventh time, Judi Dench portrays Bond's boss, "M", and as usual she makes a solid and lasting performance. The relationship between M and Bond is deepened even more in this film, and more personal than ever before.

One of the "Bond Girls", even if it feels slightly incorrect to call her that after seeing the film, is played by the shapely and obviously talented actress Bérénice Marlohe. She plays the enigmatic character "Severine", who I think will be one of the most memorable girls in the entire series. Naomie Harris does a fantastic job as Bond's colleague in the field, "Eve" - I hope and believe she will be back.

Director Sam Mendes first Bond film is hopefully not his last. He is a genuine Bond fan since childhood and a very talented filmmaker, his involvement is like icing on the cake for the movie. He won the Best Director Oscar for 1999’s American Beauty and has brought something majestic to the film.

In SKYFALL, there are countless of computer screens which are not directly suitable to film. This is the result of the work of talented artist Ian Sargent who spent 11 months on the production at Blind Ltd (including on set), and then extra work in the post-production process of the film, coping with a lot of changes at the last second.

SKYFALL features product placement (which is understandable in view of the production cost) but not in excess so as to become distracting. The rumour that Bond would abandon his martini for Heineken, which I personally never believed, did not happen.

The soundtrack was composed by Thomas Newman, his first James Bond film. He does it well but I still miss John Barry's music. Adele's theme song "Skyfall" is co-written and produced by Paul Epworth. In my eyes, there are three types of Bond theme songs: Some are impressive, cool and sexy as "Goldfinger". Some are reflective and sad as "You Only Live Twice" while others are anthemic and adventurous like "Live and Let Die". Adele's song belongs to the more reflective and sad: it is very Bondian but also very Adele. It is a beautiful ballad that is likely to be a classic.

The film's producers and Albert R. Broccoli's heirs, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, have yet again proved that their vision of reviving the James Bond phenomenon has been artistically brave and the right way go. Daniel Craig's version of Ian Fleming's agent is unique and more emotional than previous versions: I actually cried at one point. There is more humour in SKYFALL (compared to Craig’s previous Bonds), but it's still a long way from Roger Moore's films, although I personally don’t need any more humor in them.

Conclusion, a balanced Bond film for the 50th Anniversary of DR. NO (which didn’t actually open in Sweden until April 1963), SKYFALL is a mix between LICENCE TO KILL and CASINO ROYALE. I think it will become a classic Bond film. The well-written script, the spectacular action scenes, a stunning ensemble with Q's return, as well as a memorable and nasty villain gives it strength. The two Swedish actors in the film, Ola Rapace and Jens Hultén, should be proud, to have a close encounter with James Bond is a rare thing. They make a solid effort, even if they do not say a word; it is likely that it was initially thought that their characters would be played by professional stuntmen. Having impressed the stunt coordinator Gary Powell, they were selected in tough competition. Four out of five Swedish flags is my rating on SKYFALL.

Skyfall review © 2012 From Sweden with Love. Not to be reproduced without permission.

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Other notes about the film:
From Sweden with Love was the first in the world to publish the name of Ola Rapace's part in the film, as well as the first to reveal Jens Hultén’s participation.

Besides Ola Rapace and Jens Hultén there is another Swedish person who worked on SKYFALL, Per Hallberg, two-times Academy Award-winning Supervising Sound Editor.

The film started shooting on November 7, 2011 in London, after which the crew then went to Scotland, Shanghai and Turkey.

SKYFALL is released in Sweden and the UK on October 26, 2012, almost exactly four years after the previous film, QUANTUM OF SOLACE, opened.

The Royal premiere in London is held on October 23 at the Royal Albert Hall. The Swedish gala premiere in Stockholm will take place on October 24 and is organized by ZAP Events.

Editor's note:
During 2012, FSWL was fortunate to meet many of the cast members from Skyfall. In September, we spoke to screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, production manager (second unit) Terry Bamber and stunt coordinator Gary Powell. In November, we spoke to Jens Hultén. And while in London for the premiere, we met and interviewed Barbara Broccoli & Michael G. Wilson, Sam Mendes, Naomie Harris, Javier Bardem, Bérénice Marlohe and Daniel Craig. In Stockholm, FSWL was invited to a press conference for Skyfall with Gregg Wilson, Naomie Harris and Ola Rapace.

Other Skyfall events and news featured on From Sweden with Love:
>Initial press release for Bond 23 (January 2011)
>Sony Pictures and MGM distribute "Bond 23" (April 2011)
>SKYFALL confirmed as title for Bond 23 (November 2011)
>Press conference in London (November 2011)
>SKYFALL officially filming in London (November 2011)
>Thomas Newman to score SKYFALL (January 2012)
>First official photo from SKYFALL (February 2012)
>First video blog online (February 2012)
>Skyfall to be released in IMAX theatres (February 2012)
>Swedish actor Jens Hultén confirmed for Skyfall (March 2012)
>Second video blog online (March 2012)
>An interview with Ola Rapace (Patrice) (April 2012)
>Third video blog online (April 2012)
>Fourth video blog online (April 2012)
>Press conference in Istanbul (April 2012)
>Fifth video blog online (May 2012)
>First teaser poster revealed (May 2012)
>Teaser trailer online (May 2012)
>Sixth video blog online (June 2012)
>Ben Whishaw confirmed as the new Q (July 2012)
>International trailer online (July 2012)
>Coca-Cola and SKYFALL partnership (August 2012)
>New SKYFALL posters revealed (August 2012)
>Coca-Cola Zero reveals new SKYFALL ad (September 2012)
>US one-sheet poster for SKYFALL revealed (September 2012)
>Second UK teaser poster for SKYFALL revealed (September 2012)
>Bond on Set: Filming SKYFALL - Greg Williams (October 2012)
>Adele revealed as singer of SKYFALL theme song (October 2012)
>Aftonbladet's James Bond magazine in stores (22 October 2012)
>Royal premiere of SKYFALL in London (23 October 2012)
>SKYFALL opens at UK cinemas (October 2012)
>Box-office success for SKYFALL in Sweden (29 October 2012)
>SKYFALL sets new box office records all over Europe (November 2012)
>SKYFALL opens in America (November 2012)
>SKYFALL is the most successful film of 2012 in the UK (November 2012)
>SKYFALL: A worldwide box-office phenomenon (December 2012)
>SKYFALL stunt team recipient of SAG Award (January 2013)
>Dennis Gassner winner of Art Directors Guild award (February 2013)
>SKYFALL wins two BAFTA Awards (February 2013)
>SKYFALL released on Blu-ray in Sweden (February 2013)
>SKYFALL released on Blu-ray Steelcase in Sweden (February 2013)
>SKYFALL released on DVD in Sweden (February 2013)
>Special celebration of James Bond at the 85th Academy Awards (February 2013)
>Dame Shirley Bassey makes first appearance at the Oscars (February 2013)
>Adele performs "Skyfall" at the 85th Academy Awards (February 2013)
>SKYFALL nominated for 7 Saturn Awards (June 2013)

Cover below:
The Swedish one-sheet poster for Skyfall © 2012 SF Bio. All rights reserved.

Visit the official 007 website for official SKYFALL news:



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