Friday, 9 November 2012

SKYFALL - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Daisy Chain o' Mother-Love from Sam "I'm from the thay-uh-tuh" Mendes

I dare you to not puke whilst imagining
Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Albert Finney and Judi Dench
locked in a daisy chain of triple penetration love.
Javier Bardem
has just sucked a palate-cleansing lemon
after an especially funky muff-dive on Judi Dench.
Skyfall (2012) dir. Sam Mendes *
Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Albert Finney, Ralph Fiennes

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Skyfall stinks.

I'm not being a knee-jerk naysayer on this. I wanted very much to love (or at least enjoy) Skyfall in spite of the fact that Sam Mendes is one of the most criminally overrated filmmakers working in contemporary cinema. (I also think Craig's inaugural outing in Casino Royale was terrific all round.)

Surely, I thought, it couldn't be worse than Daniel Craig's second outing as 007. After all, Quantum of Solace (one of the stupidest movie titles of all time) was unconscionably dirge-like in its portentous, scattershot seriousness. As well, the picture was saddled with an incomprehensible muddle-puddle of a script that gorged itself on a surfeit of unfathomable expositional detail that served to explain nothing (at least not to the audience, but probably allowed its boneheaded makers to think they knew precisely what story they were telling).

The narrative landfill site purporting to be a screenplay egregiously drew far too much attention to the film's utter incompetence.

The added bonbons de merde included the following:

1. Horrendously directed action scenes.

2. A Bond girl infused with so much doom and gloom they might rather have cast Carol Burnett being force-fed a few bucket-loads of gin cocktails laced with a variety of benzodiazepines instead of Olga Kurylenko, one of the most beautiful women in the world and a decent actress to boot.

3. Poor Daniel Craig didn't appear to know what movie he was in. Then again, neither did we - save for the almost surgically-grafted dour expression of lemon-sucking on Craig's handsome face to tell us Bond was either in a foul mood and/or constipated.

Is Skyfall worse?

No, but it turns out that Craig's third go-round in the franchise is a mere pubic hair or two better than the woeful Marc Forster directed (if you can call it direction) Quantum of Bunged-Up Waste Matter.

The Sam Mendes abomination has an overall bludgeoning effect that gracelessly pummels its audience into submission which surely accounts (at least partially) for the rapturous reception it's received from both audiences and film reviewers. The other "accounting" for it's popularity is, sadly, of the "no accounting" for bad taste variety.

Mendes is not only an overrated director, he's a magician, though not the kind that creates screen magic, but the sort who truly bamboozles audiences (and, sadly, reviewers) into thinking he's good. He's a poseur of the highest order.

The flashy, fake razzle-dazzle he employed on American Beauty fooled many, but it didn't fool all of us. Whilst camera jockeying the Alan Ball screenplay, he successfully rendered kiddie porn disguised by Edward-Albee-Lite-decimating-the-suburbs. It fooled many, including a lot of people who really should know better.

Later, Mendes managed to bollox-up the fake Neo-noir of Road to Perdition so badly that even Paul Newman was boringly unable to pinch anything resembling a loaf. And please, don't get me started on the abominable Revolutionary Road wherein Mendes completely misread the great book it was based on, playing everything at a fake pitch of hysteria rather the the cold, truthful and devastating manner it should have been played at.

So here we've got a fake being handed the keys to the James Bond kingdom and he's predictably loused it up. The worst sin Mendes commits is not being able to direct action. He's so inept here, the producers might as well have doled out the reins to Blind Pew.

The first two minutes aren't bad.

Mendes cranks up his trademark pseudo-noir as Bond, silhouetted against the blazing sun of an open doorway, slowly enters a long hallway until a patch of light reveals Daniel Craig's baby blues. He discovers a colleague in peril and risks precious seconds of going-after-the-villain-time to tend to him.

And then, the picture goes to hell as Bond goes after the bad guy and we're treated to a Sam Mendes-styled impersonation of Paul Greengrass. The entire opening action sequence has little sense of spatial geography, far too many closeups, a ridiculous number of cuts and only a handful of wide shots to take in the action. Car chase, motorcycle chase, foot chase and finally, spectacular leaps onto the top of a moving train do little more than exhaust us. Mendes essentially cudgels us into submission.

This isn't suspense, nor is it especially exciting. It's cacophony, pure and simple. Once again, we have an action sequence in a contemporary film that fakes its way through - driving the action NOT with dramatic beats, but with sledgehammer cuts. None of them are especially elegant. Always the sign of a director who can't direct action, the cuts seem driven by explosive and/or grating, screeching sound.

During the car chase sequence we never get a clean exterior shot of the car that Bond and Moneypenny are in. (Yes, Moneypenny is a hot young operative in the field.) Mendes peppers the chase with closeups of things the car smashes into from interior POVs, but we never get a sense of the real danger, destruction and urgency.

It's all bluster.

If we must, let us compare this to the chase scenes in William Friedkin's The French Connection or Peter Yates's Bullitt which, as DRAMATIC sequences are imbued with a three-act structure, genuine ebbs and flows, plus, most importantly, a sense of the environment that the cars are careening through. The urgency is very real.

Not so in Skyfall. It's just a sloppy throw-as-much-shit-at-the-audience-and-see-if-anything-sticks hodgepodge rendering poor Roger Deakins's cinematography to little more than a patchwork quilt.

After seeing Skyfall, I randomly selected two Bond pictures from the "Golden Age". One was Diamonds Are Forever and the other was Live and Let Die. In the former I watched and marvelled at the skill and bravado during the spectacular car chase through downtown Las Vegas and in the latter, had to gasp for air several times during the utterly insane boat chase through Louisiana cracker country. Again, like Friedkin and Yates, the action sequences made perfect spatial sense, lots of breathtaking wide shots and ONLY punched in for medium and close shots when necessary to the story.

Alas, Mendes (like Marc Forster before him) is not only inept, but one senses an inherent sense of snobbery and/or slumming during all the action scenes. Only once does Mendes ALMOST get things right during a spectacularly choreographed hand-to-hand fight, gorgeously captured by the beleaguered Deakins in silhouette.

What does Mendes do? What any talentless man of the they-uh-tuhr might do when having to direct mere action scenes. He ends it too quickly for more sloppy closeups, herky-jerky movement and wham-bam-thank-you-m'am cutting for the ADHD-afflicted.

Mendes isn't interested in action. He's more interested in the pseudo-Freudian implications of the tale. The villain, played mincingly, prancingly and annoyingly by he of the bad hair, Javier Bardem, is a former MI6 agent gone rogue and looking to get revenge upon M (Judi Dench) for abandoning him during an operation gone awry. Bond too has similar issues with M. He believes she sacrificed him during the climax of the opening action scene.

And here's the rub, both Bond and Bardem, it turns out, are… wait for it… are you seated?

They're both fucking orphans and M is their surrogate Mummy-kins who betrayed both of them. Oh, they're so sensitive, such delicate "New Men" are these paragons of anti-macho-hood.

Basically, they're big sissy whiny-pants.

The movie is replete with gorgeous Bond girls, but Mendes lavishes his real attention upon Judi Dench.

Judi Dench???

Fine actress, but I'm sorry, she's, uh, old. And worst of all, M is ultimately a crusty twixt the thighs buzzard - a pursed-lipped dowager.

Whom does Bond really want to fuck in this movie? Well, as he seems to show only a passing interest in the ladies, it seems that ideally he'd be well suited to a bit of corn-hole frolics with Javier Bardem (and vice-versa), but what the entire movie seems to boil down to is this:

Bond and Bardem might WANT to fuck each other, but what they really desire is to fuck their mother - M, the oldest Bond Girl in recorded history. In fact, if they weren't on such opposite ends of the law, they might even be suited to some double-penetration action with Dame Judi.

Does this not sicken you?

In the least?

Well, if that didn't quite do it, how about the interminable climax in Scotland with Albert Finney chewing up the scenery as Kincade the Groundskeeper of Bond's family estate Skyfall?

The movie stoops so low as to have Finney blow apart a few bad guys with his trusty hunting rifle and utter, with a chortle and a gruff brogue, no less: "Welcome to Scotland!"

At this point, the even more sickening image of Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem AND Albert Finney drilling Judi Dench's primary orifices of love began to creep into my brain and I gave up. Only Sam Mendes is capable of putting such dirty pictures in my brain. I almost want to applaud him, but think better upon it as I reach for a paper bag to wretch into.

I think, after seeing Skyfall, I shall never again be the same.

Thanks, Sam!

"Skyfall" is in wide release world wide from Sony Pictures.