When you have kids it takes you half a year to see films. The 23rd Bond film, Skyfall, is magnificent for a number of reasons.
Bond dies. His false death leaves him disappointed: the booze and drugs addictions cannot obliterate his unsatisfied death-wish - only death in action will.
Bond is a bloodshot wreck with a shaky gun hand. The haggard face. "Double Oh Seven, reporting for duty" he says, with the drunk's careful intonation.
Location and architecture as metaphor: Istanbul - rushing death, Macau - money and theft, Hashima island - damage and debt, London - memory and guilt. A forbidding skull of a house (Satis?, enough?, not enough?) on a blasted muir - Bond's interior life. And M the metonym of the knackered and credit-downgraded Great Britain.
The love of M, here a scratchy relationship, and the need for a mother (M: "Orphans make the best recruits"). M the echo of Tracy.
A new sexual direction for Bond signalled but not explored - for a second I thought they'd taken inspiration from Cyril Connolly's Bond satire.
The general gloom being true to the undercurrents veining Fleming's books.
So many references to the 22 other Bond films in 50 years (and the ten-year shadow of Bourne) that it all but folds in on itself. I look forward to Bond Level 7 Care Plan Revoked in the Nursing Home.
Best of all, nothing happens.
More spies: Zeiss is coincidence, Not stirred, From Russia With Lunch, All that is solid melts into lair, I'm not angry, Bourne, Jason, Bourne (see also Jones's The Bourne Infrastructure and The Bond Villain of the Long Now), various JB and IF links.