Post Calendar

October 2021
« Aug    

Notes on Skyfall

Who is unfamiliar with the cinema critic’s spin on the Bond franchise as primarily a national propaganda project, subtly turning on an alternative history of Britannia? This view essentially holds that James Bond is to English culture what the Odyssey is to ancient Greek culture—a dramatic time capsule of a forget me not. When we surrender to it, we witness a world in which Britannia’s pink radius remains globally influential—Sauron as a massive pink eye beaming pink rays into every global corner & cranny; at least those outfitted with Cineplexes or nimble pirate markets.

The Bond franchise arrives on Big Screens as the modern colonial world is dissolving into Euro-mimetic nation-states—the films are not only readable as Cold War pop art &cinematic adjuncts of second wave Hipsters (Mailer’s White Negroidism—defined by “ a new breed of adventurers, urban adventurers who drifted out at night looking for action with a black man’s code to fit their facts[,] hipster[s that] had absorbed the existentialist synapses of the Negro, [&] for practical purposes could be considered a white Negro”—as exemplified by the inaugural issue of Playboy, et al.); they also work nicely as reactionary post-colonial artifacts. Imperial implosion’s no need for adventurism cessation.

The realm reduced—intensified, as in gastronomic parlance, & shrunken in size—to a Union Jack draped ceramic bulldog. Fragile resilience. Heavy-fisted metaphors, but they still function. James Bond constitutes this concept as a kind of plane of consistency throughout Skyfall.

Through a racialist lens, the film’s cinnamon-toned cyber-villain, a one-man SPECTRE for a Hacker Age, is an advisory element broken free from the rival reduced empire of Spain, which has become comfortable with relaxing into a kind of national death. Reflecting on the exhaustion that all that Bondian jumping & fighting brings on, the cinnamon-y villain advises Bond to “relax…”—“…unto death” he may as well have said: M’s, that of the sacrificial beauty that JB’s sexes up, Empires’, & of course JB’s own—it’s certainly what I heard.

At times, the fantastical national-imperial psychodrama is echoed by Bond’s personal catharsis. Or his attempt at it. The film is a little longer than a typical therapy session, but not long enough to shrink our Anglo-nostalgia (not even with alley-oop-like assist from The Hobbit thundering from an adjacent theatre cave) & JB’s “unresolved childhood trauma”. The crumpled Bond we witness at the close of the still underappreciated On Her Majesty’s Secret Service would have been more fitting than the aging bulldog Bond of Skyfall’s last minutes. There’s insufficient multidimensional humanity in Craig’s Bond for trauma therapy to have any meaning. His Bond is a plane. A front. A screen.

& also the James Brown of James Bonds; no other visibly works harder. & his physicality, his dogged exhaustion clues us in to Bond’s meaning. “Bond” resonates most strongly with its legal & financial significations in our moment—our bond is our pennywise word as we promise to repay borrowed money, and so on. But it is more meaningful, against the fantastical psychodrama of Skyfall to hear the word ‘s chemical & architectural tones first—as that which holds people, or a people, together, that which binds, that which imprisons. The James Bond franchise may be the most radical counter-insurgency ever mounted—an aestheticized, alternative history, perimeter lined in pink radiance.

I compiled these notes on the film while listening to Anthony DavisClonetics & reflecting on Tom Jacob’s nice essay, which I read today while in flight from Tallahassee to Boston.This discussion between film critic Elvis Mitchell and director Sam Mendes sent me into the theatre.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Spam Protection by WP-SpamFree