Sam Mendes is known best for his idiosyncratic character studies (American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Revolutionary Road) so I was curious about how he would approach the latest entry in the 50-year-old Bond franchise, Skyfall. All of the requisite chases, gun play and extended battles are on wonderful display along with several simply gorgeous foreign locales -- Turkey, Shanghai, Macao -- but this time we also get a level of psychological complexity that few if any of the previous Bonds ever displayed. Daniel Craig's 007 is not only tireless and deadly, he's also deep. Who knew? The depths of his obsessions (martinis, women and country and not necessarily in that order) are plumbed a bit in this "episode" and his love/hate relationship with M (the heavenly Judi Dench) is of particular interest as a crazed former British agent (a creepily effete Javier Bardem) tries to take down MI6 and M herself. A failed assassination attempt during a Parliamentary hearing on an MI6 breach sends Bond and M on the run, in James's tricked out Aston Martin, to the Scottish highlands and his boyhood homestead, the eponymous Skyfall. It is there the film's bloody brilliant last battle is waged and much is revealed and resolved. See this film, you must.


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