Skyfall: Spy Sins

March 13, 2013 4:35 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The old British domination is history, but history remembers how it operated ruthlessly through the years. Britain’s supreme power abroad, the agent, falls down from their last industrial pride – the railroad in Istanbul. Then in Macao, a stiff lifeless body travels through the underworld on a boat on the river Styx and is swallowed whole by the dragon. The spy, as a symbol of fashionable prestige, returns to the real world to find it dramatically changed. This happens at the Pearl River Delta, where the empire fought by all means necessary to force the East to open up its trade routes in the prosperous 19 AD.

In Shanghai, we see skyscrapers as the new wonders of the world. No longer a British prerogative, industrial superpower looks like alien Asian megapolises, created by unknown forces of a new economic miracle. This is illustrated aptly by Bond’s clunky approach: holding on to the elevator with organic, analog, old-fashioned human force. But the building is too tall (those Chinese construction projects!) and the elevator travels so long that the hero barely holds on. We are in a space that is out of control. On top of the skyscraper we see strange lights and foreign text we don’t understand. We are in the dark again and the light of the murder scene is far away, unintelligible and separated by a chasm. Her majesty’s finest are confused and powerless in this new world.

The villain exposition sets up the conflict literally. The Empire used its best people as political pawns and then threw them away. Out of the system, these former cogs in the machine think for themselves and feel betrayed and angry. Dirty tricks come around. Britain feels the consequences of Imperialism: a strike by an equal force with opposite direction. The British undertake an introspective self-assessment and the story moves home to remind us what was great about it. It is good old-fashioned resolve, stubbornness and strength, as shown by the toy dog. Dressed to kill, the spy mixes with the common people in the subway, feeling out of place yet seeing where he comes from and what he should really fight for – his own common people. The climax is an act of exorcism, returning home to Sean Connery country and using everything at hand to banish the dark shadows of the past.

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This post was written by rado

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