Without a romance to keep us tingly in this installment, 'Skyfall' finds a pulse of another kind by shifting its focus to the ever elusive "M."
Dame Judy Dench has held our attention with her "can't be charmed attitude" toward our obviously charming Mr. Bond. In 'Skyfall,' she seems to have been infected, however imperceivably, with human emotion. And a touch of that is aimed at Agent 007.
Daniel Craig maintains his iron grip on the franchise lead with his wayward, soulless lothario. Here his sense of country is activated when MI6 headquarters is bombed. (After a soaring theme song from Adele, nothing is ever peaceful again).
Meanwhile, M was just handed her walking papers and not only failed to embrace them, but when the building is bombed -- invites Bond to go borderline rogue with her. Connected by years and now mutual indignation at the threat against their own, both are determined to right the wrong.
With M’s hard drive containing all the MI6 names lost, 'Skyfall' double ticking time bomb is how will the hobbled and aging Bond fair in battle and for M, with her cache severely compromised, which enemy will prevail first. Will it be M's doubters within or the evil, and as of yet, unnamed threat from the outside.
The story though, is never quite as clear or as sharp as the individual scenes.
Javier Bardem's character is the villian Silva. Bardem is a gifted actor but his character is hobbled by a horrendous bleached, falsetto haircut. With no dialogue that allows Bardem to flex his considerable acting chops, the opportunity is squandered.
‘Skyfall’ isn’t the best storyline. The lines on our Bond’s face have deepened with more appeal. But satisfying it is.When the action weaves to its inevitable showdown Mendes keeps the visuals exquisite. The lighting and photography are impeccable.
As another installment inevitably brews just out of sight, the audience knows there is truth to it when M's would-be successor declares:
“There is more work to be done 007.”