Skyfall – the latest 007 Bond – is quite a philosophical movie that focuses on the theme of ‘death’.
Time has come that even Bond ponders if his work, patriotism or nationalism is worth dying for after a mission in Turkey where he was accidently shot by an accomplice.
At the start of the movie, while chasing a mercenary to recover a hard disk drive containing the name list of all NATO agents in Terrorists organisations, Bond discovers an agent who was shot but still alive.
While reporting to his boss ‘M’, she tells him quite heartlessly to leave the guy and chase after the mercenary to recover the name list. Although help is sent, the guy did not make it.
After being shot, while struggling with the mercenary on a moving train (incredible feat!), Bond was later considered “missing and presumed dead”, and does not even call his boss to tell her that he is still alive.
She writes an obituary about him and sells his flat – “as is the standard operating procedure for all unmarried agents without a next of kin”.
When he returned to work and was told this, he had felt the coldness of her words and yet that was the reality of his life.
He could have stayed “dead” but he returns after the British secret service M16 is bombed and several colleagues are dead.
Bond later ponders where does humanity, kindness, faith or trust for others figure in this the kind of work he does.
For a moment there, he feels like giving it all up and disappearing (like I sometimes feel like doing!), but returns because there is a sense of duty; or perhaps, that is the only way he knows how to live.
And because his boss needs him to go after the crooks who blew up M16 and killed some of the agents, Bond is allowed to return to work despite failing the fitness test – bending rules to achieve political expediency?
And while on this mission in Shanghai and Macau, Bond is forced to review his own work methods when he meets the villain – another fellow agent gone mad – Silva, who needs only the click of a mouse to achieve his aims – whether it is blowing up a building or a train station.
“All this running around is tiring,” he later tells Bond, who moments earlier has already realised that things have changed or transformed around him especially technology.
But Bond is Bond, and he is not giving up. He returns to what he knows best, to methods which he is the expert, to places he is familiar with, to deal with the villains in his head, and in his work.
And typical as life is, Bond takes us back to his home – Skyfall – the title of the movie – where it all started for him as where he came from is as important as where he is heading.
As it is for all of us. Sometimes to die is also to live. Again.