starring Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Judi Dench
screenplay by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and John Logan
directed by Sam Mendes
by Walter Chaw For me, the James Bond films are the literalization of a very particular Conservative fantasy in which a suave, quippy, emotionally-arrested sociopath battles Cold War foes, beds beautiful women without consequence, always has the latest technology, and engages in the endless murder of foreigners. Just suggesting a "license to kill" reveals a certain level of arrogance; and it's their confrontation of the noisome wake left by those attitudes that makes On Her Majesty's Secret Service and the more recent Casino Royale the powerhouses that they are. Skyfall, the latest in the decades-spanning series, tries but fails to do the same. A good part of the problem can be traced back to non-action director Sam Mendes (superseding Marc Forster, non-action director of the disastrous Quantum of Solace), who, in trying to honour the visceral requirements of the genre, finds himself unable to produce either a meaty melodrama or a capable action vehicle.