Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
United Kingdom/USA, 2012. Eon Productions, B23, Columbia Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, United Artists. Screenplay by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan, based on characters created by Ian Fleming. Cinematography by Roger Deakins. Produced by Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson. Music by Thomas Newman. Production Design by Dennis Gassner. Costume Design by Jany Temime. Film Editing by Stuart Baird. Academy Awards 2012. Golden Globe Awards 2012. Las Vegas Film Critics Awards 2012. National Society of Film Critics Awards 2012. North Carolina Film Critics Awards 2012. Online Film Critics Awards 2012. Phoenix Film Critics Awards 2012. Washington Film Critics Awards 2012.
Fifty years of saving the world can really take their toll on a man, particularly when he has sustained so many injuries and, to deal with them, has racked up a major substance abuse problem. This is the state we find the world’s greatest super agent in when this film’s pre-credits sequence, set in Turkey, has him get shot and go missing while trying to recover a super important data file. James Bond returns, however, when M (Judi Dench) finds herself in danger of being discredited: her agents are being killed, their identities are being leaked, no one has a clue who is doing it and her superiors are requesting that she step aside in favour of a successor. Our hero steps in and travels to Shanghai to find the identity of a former MI6 agent who is causing all this mayhem, before returning home to England’s capital where the threat of major terror must be averted. This exquisitely perfect adventure in the cinema’s longest-running franchise is the best Bond film since From Russia With Love, a sleek, intelligent and perfectly executed thriller featuring every necessary element for a great night at the movies: a fetching hero, an impressive villain, excellent action sequences with a cohesive and diverting story to back it up. Add to the mix a richer part for Dench than has been given before, a terrific new Q (the wonderful Ben Whishaw), one of the most stunning Bond girls ever seen (Bérénice Marlohe) and a rip-roaring closing sequence at a lonely Scottish estate and you have the sexy sleuth at his finest form. Daniel Craig continues to be a superb choice for the lead, reminiscent of Sean Connery’s combination of vibrant animal aggression and high lifestyle indulgence, with his darker and more serious attitude to the role perfectly suited to the grittier style of the series’ reboot.