Friday, 30 October 2015

Film Studies: Skyfall

  For a film relevant to an analysis of two conflicting characters I looked at the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall, somewhat convenient I admit now that Spectre is out. Skyfall's story revolves around an element of M's (Judi Dench) past coming back to haunt her through acts of terrorism designed to provoke her. The two characters I will be looking at are Bond (Daniel Craig) himself and Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), a former double-agent like Bond who turned his back on MI6 after M left him at the mercy of the Chinese many years ago.

  I chose these two because they are mirrors of each other: James Bond is a loyal MI6 agent who is starting to become a relic as international espionage becomes more computerised, needing field agents like him less. While Raoul Silva is the opposite - a rogue MI6 agent and a 00 like Bond who treats technology-backed espionage as the future with a personal vendetta against M.

James Bond

Figure 1: Bond
  • Personal Worldview: As a veteran 00 agent of MI6, Bond has a pessimistic view of the world, most clearly seen in a word-association game he undergoes. His responses to the word "gun" being "tool" and "murder" being "employment", solidifying that to him, his job is as typical as any other more domestic career. But it's something he feels he was meant to do.
  • Inherited World: Traditional Espionage. Bond prefers the old ways of doing things, being physical and collecting hard evidence.
  • Wants: Bond's mind is always on the mission at hand, and when there is a target given to him, the only thing that sticks in his mind is bringing that person in.
  • Needs: To Bond, without MI6 he is nothing. Bond's temporary retirement involves drinking and sleeping with women, but all it takes is news of a bomb attack on MI6 headquarters to send him back to London.
  • Traits: He is merciless, severely determined and apears to enjoy playing mind games with both love interests and enemies. However any mention of the word "Skyfall" tends to silence him as it is something he would rather forget.
  • Flaws: In this film, along with showing signs of falling behind the times, Bond gains a physical impairment in the form of a bum right arm that prevents him from shooting straight
  • Overall Story Arc: Bond's only real goal is to protect M and bring in Silva.
  • Conflicts: Bond is not only battling mentally with Silva, but also trying to keep useful in an age where assassinations and eavesdropping are more commonly done though a computer.
  • Value Change in a Scene: Bond spends most of the film resentful that M nearly killed him, but when M's life is finally ended, he treats a will-bestowed gift (a Union Jack emblazoned china bulldog he found tacky) as a sign she wanted him to keep doing what he does best.

Raoul Silva

Fiure 2: Raoul Silva
  • Personal Worldview: To Silva, the world is his oyster thanks to computers. He also sees himself as something that is inevitable when working for M.
  • Inherited World: Modern Espionage. Silva built up a small criminal empire stealing secrets electronically, hacking, remote sabotage and using the internet as his personal weapon of choice.
  • Wants: For what she did to him, he wants M humiliated before she is killed.
  • Needs: Silva is obsessed with M's humiliation. And wants M to understand his suffering before he fully enacts his revenge.
  • Traits: Externally, Silva is playful, egotistical and with a touch of callousness to him, He feels he can do whatever he wants thanks to how all-pervasive electronics are. Inside however he is horribly broken and desperate for revenge for what M let happen to him.
  • Flaws: Silva has a degree of ego as he appears unaware that part of what forced M to leave him to the Chinese was his own behavior, assuming that he did nothing to make M hate him. He is also shown to be not as physically well-conditioned as Bond, feeling exhausted near to where M is hiding in the finale while Bond moves like he never lost a step.
  • Conflicts: Silva never fights Bond directly. But his ego and his disdain for M are at odds with Bond's patriotism and devotion to the job.
  • Value Change in a Scene: When Silva finally gets within grasping range of M, he effectively breaks into tears. Emotionally strained and desperate for closure he decides that he wishes to die alongside M by sharing a bullet.
  I could have explored the conflict between M and Silva, as within the film there is a lot of focus on M's past catching up to her and an apparent inability to adapt to a post-Cold War world. However I decided to focus on the strong mirror that there was between Bond and Silva.

No comments:

Post a Comment