Review by Pierre de Villiers
James Bond films clearly work well when you add a touch of French. After Eva Green helped to make Casino Royale a brilliant Bond reboot, French compatriot B�r�nice Marlohe plays a big part in ensuring that Skyfall is easily one of the best 007 offerings to date.
The Parisian’s captivating performance is one of the highlights in a film that adds genuine emotion to the thrills and spills you expect from a spy franchise celebrating 50 years on the big screen.
After a breathless, expertly choreographed, opening in Turkey that sees Bond (Daniel Craig) pursue a bad guy through the Grand Bazaar and onto the top of a train, the action moves to London where MI6 is under attack. A jaded and bruised 007 is dispatched by M (Judi Dench) to track down the man responsible for stealing a hard drive containing the names of undercover NATO operatives. Bond’s search leads him to the beguiling Severine (Marlohe) who holds the key to finding the villainous Silva (Javier Bardem).
Every Bond girl needs a striking introduction and Marlohe has a cracking one – lit up by the neon lights of Shanghai and glowering at 007 from a high-rise building. The actress soon sets about showing she is much more than window dressing, engaging the superspy in some sexy, sinister verbal sparring.
And what about Bond himself? After six years and two films, the role now fits Craig like a tailored Tom Ford suit, the actor bringing some humour to what is already the most human of 007s. Dench and Bardem lend fine support while director Sam Mendes makes a mockery of fanboy fears that he wouldn’t be able to put together decent actions scenes.
Exciting, stylish and surprisingly moving, Skyfall should act as a template for the Bond franchise for the next 50 years.
Our Rating: ****
Skyfall is in cinemas from 26 October.