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Some 'convenient coincidences' in Skyfall (Major spoilers ahead)


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#31 DavidJones

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 09:23 PM

 

 

There are plot holes though. I got the impression the assassination job Patrice did involving Severine was unconnected to Silva's main plot against M - funny, though, how she's there in the Macao casino to meet Bond. She appears to be controlled by a Tong syndicate, but but Silva also. Did Silva tell her to be there and make contact? Come to think of it, how would Silva be sure Bond would catch Patrice at the assassination site? I think he just assumed that one way or another 007 would sooner or later turn up to arrest him, as planned.

London - how did Silva know when the parliamentary enquiry would be and when M would appear, or had he, like Quantum "people everywhere?" - a good question if his plot is somehow linked to events in the film SPECTRE. Insider knowledge perhaps?

Finally the showdown at Skyfall Lodge. We know Bond set a trail of breadcrumbs - but why not send a signal to someone - Tanner, Eve, Q - to get Mallory to authorise a backup force to be on hand when, inevitably Silva and his goon squad appears (you could have them being late to the battle for dramatic purposes, but surely in real life the object would be to capture this dangerous man, not risk all on Bond senior still having a full set of guns and faithful retainer Kincaid being around - in fact it's clear Bond didn't expect him to be there.)

It's dramatically satisfying, I suppose, to have Bond, M and an unexpted ally fight off the baddie and his henchmen with little to hand, but putting the head of MI6 at risk that way is questionable, to say the least.
 

Since explaining "SKYFALL" is my pet project...   :P

 

- Patrice´s assassination was part of Silva´s way to make money from illegal art deals, using Severine as bait/middleman.  Silva, of course, could not know that Bond would go after Patrice - but when Bond did, Silva again improvised and used the moment to his advantage.  Exactly as Bond always does it: make the most of difficult circumstances, turning them around.

 

- The date of the enquiry has been set for some time, and as someone who demonstrates how easily he can invade any network with his computer knowledge, he got that information with no sweat.

 

- Why didn´t Mallory and the crew send help to "Skyfall"?  Well, Dench-M explicitly says: she does not want any more lives harmed because of her, only Bond at her side.  She already feels responsible for the death of the other agents and the terror that Silva has brought on everyone since his capture.  She hopes that Bond will protect her and kill Silva - or, secretly, she is ready to pay the price for her mistakes.

 

Now, Mallory, Q, Tanner and Eve could have sent the troups anyway - but that would have triggered another enquiry with career-shattering consequences.  I get the feeling from Mallory that he has no love for Dench-M or Bond, he is too much invested in politics himself, manoeuvering his career under a strict code, telling Dench-M to step down and Bond to quit in the early scenes of the film.  So I do think he just does not want to involve himself or others in the messy outcome of the revenge-scenario Silva wants to live out.  I even believe that Mallory is ready to risk Dench-M and Bond dying by Silva´s hand.  He already is moving forward to replace Dench-M, and Bond is just another agent for him, tied to Dench-M.  If Dench-M and Bond had been killed by Silva, Mallory would have been in a politically sound situation to ask his superiors for permission to go after Silva, finally cleaning up his predecessor´s mess.  But as long as she is in charge, he will not interfere.  Everything he can do and wants to do is allow Q and Tanner to do as Dench-M wishes (the breadcrumbs) - and this, of course, he wants to remain a secret.

 

As for Q, Tanner and Eve - they have no authority to send reinforcements.

 

 

All that you say makes sense, but it doesn't excuse the intangibility of certain parts of SF. The film, for me, is carried along by the emotional thrust, but pays little attention to logic or tangibility, particularly in the second half. One of they key problems is Silva's omnipotence. To me it makes his actions completely intangible and thus quite boring. Saying you can do literally anything with the click of a mouse, or flick of a switch isn't threatening because it's nonsense. This is why I think the Joker trumps Silva, despite them sharing some glaring similarities, because the actions of the Joker are rooted in a reality that is understandable.

 

Where Silva talks of 'manipulating stocks, rigging elections and interrupting spy satellite transmissions', that is very tangible, but the idea he can blow up MI6 with his laptop is ludicrous. Were this a Moore outing, or even a Brosnan, you'd just buy it, but this film positions itself as a thinking man's Bond with a very specific set of thematic layers. If you're going to encourage people to think about what they're watching you can't then ignore the plot logistics and specifics when they are so abstract. The train crash is equally mind boggling (not to mention lacking in any tension because the train is empty), as is Bond suddenly spotting, 'Granborough Rd' and then Q, 'Laying the breadcrumbs'. It's all, to quote Henry Gupta, 'technobabble'. it just leaves me cold. If it were background noise it would be acceptable, but these things are advancing the plot and for me need a bit more explanation other than, 'it's just done with computers, innit'. 

 

 

I agree with everything in this post.



#32 SecretAgentFan

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 05:45 AM

Blowing up MI6 with a computer? If it were that easy would we not be in the s***, so to speak? And is it really possible for a man to be a ghost on that level. Absolutely no way anyone can track him to wherever he picks up his helicopter and no way they can take him down before reaching Scotland? I know Bond films are generally implausible, but for one that professes to have a brain it does stretch credibility at points.

 

I hope you´re right...



#33 DavidJones

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 12:55 PM

I would love to like Skyfall - I would love to like everything, come to that - and I can be very generous, and not overly cynical, when it comes to films. But it is quite amusing seeing fans of Skyfall bending over backwards trying to explain away it's weaknesses. Fact is, the script's got more holes than a Walther PPK can put through it. I saw it three times in the cinema, each time coming to it with an open-mind and a kindly disposition, and each time I came away unimpressed.



#34 SecretAgentFan

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 03:45 PM

I don´t mean to be blunt but...

 

"Fact is"?  It´s your opinion.

 

A plot hole is only there if there is no explanation possible.



#35 mrmoon

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 04:11 PM

I don´t mean to be blunt but...

 

"Fact is"?  It´s your opinion.

 

A plot hole is only there if there is no explanation possible.

 

It is littered with illogical moments that could have been explained, but aren't. No film is watertight and some of my favourite films of all time have glaring holes. However, if the film is constructed in a way that sweeps you along for the ride those holes aren't as noticeable. The problem with SF for me is that I was taken out of the film at several times by situations that displayed such omnipotence from Silva that I could've been watching Harry Potter or LOTR, where reason gives way to fantasy. This happened the first time I saw the film and isn't some retrospective critique. Most of the so called 'explanations' are in essence fan theories which have been moulded over time, retrospectively. For me, the film has to do the work. You can watch a film, leave the theatre and discuss possible themes, semiotics, references etc, until the cows come home but if basic internal logic of the film is flawed enough to snap you out of the moment, that is much harder to resolve.



#36 SecretAgentFan

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 04:49 PM

See, I disagree with your notion that explanations for the so-called plotholes are just fan theories.

 

I do not believe that a fillm has to explain everything.  In fact, I find those films pretty boring.  If a certain plot point keeps the pace from lagging I welcome every director who edits that sequence out and lets the audience connect the dots.

 

Maybe it´s a generational thing - in the 70´s those narrative elipses were commonly used and audiences had no problem with it, they rather loved thinking about it.  These days audiences have more of a "serve me, and if I do not understand it at one, it´s your fault, I don´t have to think about it"-attitude.

 

In the end, it´s all about preferences, I guess. 



#37 mrmoon

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 05:53 PM

See, I disagree with your notion that explanations for the so-called plotholes are just fan theories.

 

I do not believe that a fillm has to explain everything.  In fact, I find those films pretty boring.  If a certain plot point keeps the pace from lagging I welcome every director who edits that sequence out and lets the audience connect the dots.

 

Maybe it´s a generational thing - in the 70´s those narrative elipses were commonly used and audiences had no problem with it, they rather loved thinking about it.  These days audiences have more of a "serve me, and if I do not understand it at one, it´s your fault, I don´t have to think about it"-attitude.

 

In the end, it´s all about preferences, I guess. 

 

I agree with you, but SF doesn't fall into that category. Films that have a consistent internal logic allow the viewer to connect the dots, SF's internal logic is wayward. Bond can call in the cavalry with a radio on Silva's island, yet back in Scotland he simply has to go it alone? There's absolutely no way they can engage Silva while over the most remote area of Scotland where the likely death toll of of a rampage would be a couple of farmers and some cattle? As soon as you make a film that revolves around computer 'wizardry' it is hard to be convincing. More gaulling is that it's only there to service the theme of new vs. old and ends up being an achilles heel logically. The dynamic is the absolute reverse of TDK, where Batman has the tech and The Joker is the back to basics with his gasoline and guns. This is a better way of approaching it because the threat is tangible. It's scary for Bats because with all that tech at his disposal, this anarchist can still continually slip through the net and evade the authorities with no trace. The dynamic in SF sullies any drama because you end up with a guy that apparently can do 'anything' with his laptop, he's merely a digital ghost, who rather than actually torching a building, or blowing up a hospital, does it by pressing a button. While I accept this isn't the story, it does play an important role in the plot.

 

There's also narrative gaps that could be better served. One scenario, for example, is when Silva gets the better of Q, hence his subsequent escape and near execution of M. Yet when Q effectively returns fire, 'laying breadcrumbs', we don't even get a glimpse of what this is. What genius way has Q coaxed Silva into following Bond without arousing suspicion? He goes from being floored by Silva's technological genius to turning the tables almost immediately, it's an important character moment, but it's forgotten about and one is just expected to assume he did some 'computer stuff' again. Some exposition wouldn't go amiss to clarify Q's return to form. 



#38 DavidJones

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 07:59 PM

MrMoon is right. Considering it's the longest Bond film of them all, there is plenty of gaps in the narrative of Skyfall.

 

Even fans of the film are agreeing here that it has plot holes.


Edited by DavidJones, 18 September 2015 - 08:04 PM.


#39 SecretAgentFan

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Posted 19 September 2015 - 05:27 AM

 

See, I disagree with your notion that explanations for the so-called plotholes are just fan theories.

 

I do not believe that a fillm has to explain everything.  In fact, I find those films pretty boring.  If a certain plot point keeps the pace from lagging I welcome every director who edits that sequence out and lets the audience connect the dots.

 

Maybe it´s a generational thing - in the 70´s those narrative elipses were commonly used and audiences had no problem with it, they rather loved thinking about it.  These days audiences have more of a "serve me, and if I do not understand it at one, it´s your fault, I don´t have to think about it"-attitude.

 

In the end, it´s all about preferences, I guess. 

 

I agree with you, but SF doesn't fall into that category. Films that have a consistent internal logic allow the viewer to connect the dots, SF's internal logic is wayward. Bond can call in the cavalry with a radio on Silva's island, yet back in Scotland he simply has to go it alone? There's absolutely no way they can engage Silva while over the most remote area of Scotland where the likely death toll of of a rampage would be a couple of farmers and some cattle? As soon as you make a film that revolves around computer 'wizardry' it is hard to be convincing. More gaulling is that it's only there to service the theme of new vs. old and ends up being an achilles heel logically. The dynamic is the absolute reverse of TDK, where Batman has the tech and The Joker is the back to basics with his gasoline and guns. This is a better way of approaching it because the threat is tangible. It's scary for Bats because with all that tech at his disposal, this anarchist can still continually slip through the net and evade the authorities with no trace. The dynamic in SF sullies any drama because you end up with a guy that apparently can do 'anything' with his laptop, he's merely a digital ghost, who rather than actually torching a building, or blowing up a hospital, does it by pressing a button. While I accept this isn't the story, it does play an important role in the plot.

 

There's also narrative gaps that could be better served. One scenario, for example, is when Silva gets the better of Q, hence his subsequent escape and near execution of M. Yet when Q effectively returns fire, 'laying breadcrumbs', we don't even get a glimpse of what this is. What genius way has Q coaxed Silva into following Bond without arousing suspicion? He goes from being floored by Silva's technological genius to turning the tables almost immediately, it's an important character moment, but it's forgotten about and one is just expected to assume he did some 'computer stuff' again. Some exposition wouldn't go amiss to clarify Q's return to form. 

 

 

I get the feeling that you get too hung up on vague similarities to THE DARK KNIGHT (a film I like very much - but a film which also has similarities with many, many other films that came before - so... ).

 

And the reason why Bond is not calling in for help (as he does on Silva´s island) is simply due to Dench-M´s refusal to cause any more bloodshed.  She wants to draw Silva away from innocent victims and other agents laying their lives on the line for her.  The only guy she wants around her is Bond.  It´s really that clear.

 

And why isn´t there a scene which clarifies how Q is laying breadcrumbs for Silva?  Because it would have consisted of boring details which do nothing for the film.  It´s only important to know that he does it.  Cut to Bond in Scotland, preparing for Silva.  That´s how you tell a story swiftly.



#40 mrmoon

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Posted 19 September 2015 - 07:25 AM

 

 

See, I disagree with your notion that explanations for the so-called plotholes are just fan theories.

 

I do not believe that a fillm has to explain everything.  In fact, I find those films pretty boring.  If a certain plot point keeps the pace from lagging I welcome every director who edits that sequence out and lets the audience connect the dots.

 

Maybe it´s a generational thing - in the 70´s those narrative elipses were commonly used and audiences had no problem with it, they rather loved thinking about it.  These days audiences have more of a "serve me, and if I do not understand it at one, it´s your fault, I don´t have to think about it"-attitude.

 

In the end, it´s all about preferences, I guess. 

 

I agree with you, but SF doesn't fall into that category. Films that have a consistent internal logic allow the viewer to connect the dots, SF's internal logic is wayward. Bond can call in the cavalry with a radio on Silva's island, yet back in Scotland he simply has to go it alone? There's absolutely no way they can engage Silva while over the most remote area of Scotland where the likely death toll of of a rampage would be a couple of farmers and some cattle? As soon as you make a film that revolves around computer 'wizardry' it is hard to be convincing. More gaulling is that it's only there to service the theme of new vs. old and ends up being an achilles heel logically. The dynamic is the absolute reverse of TDK, where Batman has the tech and The Joker is the back to basics with his gasoline and guns. This is a better way of approaching it because the threat is tangible. It's scary for Bats because with all that tech at his disposal, this anarchist can still continually slip through the net and evade the authorities with no trace. The dynamic in SF sullies any drama because you end up with a guy that apparently can do 'anything' with his laptop, he's merely a digital ghost, who rather than actually torching a building, or blowing up a hospital, does it by pressing a button. While I accept this isn't the story, it does play an important role in the plot.

 

There's also narrative gaps that could be better served. One scenario, for example, is when Silva gets the better of Q, hence his subsequent escape and near execution of M. Yet when Q effectively returns fire, 'laying breadcrumbs', we don't even get a glimpse of what this is. What genius way has Q coaxed Silva into following Bond without arousing suspicion? He goes from being floored by Silva's technological genius to turning the tables almost immediately, it's an important character moment, but it's forgotten about and one is just expected to assume he did some 'computer stuff' again. Some exposition wouldn't go amiss to clarify Q's return to form. 

 

 

I get the feeling that you get too hung up on vague similarities to THE DARK KNIGHT (a film I like very much - but a film which also has similarities with many, many other films that came before - so... ).

 

And the reason why Bond is not calling in for help (as he does on Silva´s island) is simply due to Dench-M´s refusal to cause any more bloodshed.  She wants to draw Silva away from innocent victims and other agents laying their lives on the line for her.  The only guy she wants around her is Bond.  It´s really that clear.

 

And why isn´t there a scene which clarifies how Q is laying breadcrumbs for Silva?  Because it would have consisted of boring details which do nothing for the film.  It´s only important to know that he does it.  Cut to Bond in Scotland, preparing for Silva.  That´s how you tell a story swiftly.

 

I'm not hung up on TDK, I'm merely using it as a modern comparison, one Mendes explicitly said he was influenced by. Moments of conflict and actions of the villains are very similar in both pieces. Anyone failing to see that is kidding themselves imo. 

 

Re. calling in help, where you say 'It's really that clear', if you substitute clear for linear you've hit the nail on the head. I'm completely aware that M doesn't want more bloodshed given the fact she says it, but that doesn't mean it comes across any less trite or hackneyed. It's again another moment that is fabricated to get us from A to B and has more to do with servicing the underlying themes, than it does a more involved plot. 

 

Re. The breadcrumbs - why would it have to be boring? They have a scene dedicated to Silva's 'hack', where Q talks about 'polymorphic engines', and somehow Bond intuitively understands a load of code that to the rest of us is a mind***. One assumes the breadcrumbs would have been card use, phone use, CCTV, stuff rooted in reality and much more tangible. You're not talking aeons of screen time, just showing some conflict resolution between Silva and Q. After all, Silva wouldn't have escaped if Q had been more vigilant and not implausibly idiotic. Telling a story swiftly is one thing, telling it in a selective and linear fashion is another and this is the latter for me. 

 

For the record, I don't hate SF, far from it, but I do think it has a lot of issues in these areas. If handled differently, with little tweaks here and there, it could be made infinitely better imo. 



#41 SecretAgentFan

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Posted 19 September 2015 - 09:17 AM

I respect your opinion!  Thanks for the civil discussion!



#42 mrmoon

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Posted 19 September 2015 - 09:38 AM

I respect your opinion!  Thanks for the civil discussion!

 

Ditto.



#43 DavidJones

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Posted 19 September 2015 - 11:35 AM

I think it's good to be aware of flaws in a film, even if it's one we love. I adore Octopussy, for example. It's my second favourite film of all time (after North By North West) and I consider that this fact signifies my personality and interests. I enjoy the old-school adventure and the way it is rooted in Victorian/Edwardian genre fiction. Having said that, the Tarzan yell and the dressed-as-gorilla bits make me cringe (though I do think people focus on these two bits more than is warranted). Acknowledging that something isn't perfect is good - particularly as I'm an aspiring writer myself and it reminds me not to fall into the same traps, but more broadly because it shows we're not deferential robots.

 

I haven't seen SF in three years, since it's cinema release, and i've deliberatley waited as long as possible until I re-watch it, so I can return to it fresh and try once again to like it. After all, it's miserable not liking something.



#44 RMc2

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Posted 21 September 2015 - 11:01 PM

Everyone's raised really good points to think about here, thanks!

 

I think SF's plot holes only bother me because SF thinks it's so intelligent, and has a certain self-confidence about it that screams "This is Bond as art." Otherwise, I wouldn't say it's plot and dialogue problems are especially grievous by Bond film or blockbuster standards.

 

However, while we're at it... This probably isn't the right place to bring it up again, but Silva's plan has always confused me on one point:

 

- How does Silva know the MI6 agent sent after Patrice will overcome him?

 

 

I ask this question based on these assumptions:

 

1. Patrice's radioactive bullets were given to him by Silva to make him traceable

2. The Shanghai job was arranged to give MI6 the opportunity to apprehend Patrice

3. Patrice was already hired and relied upon to successfully complete the Istanbul mission


Edited by RMc2, 21 September 2015 - 11:02 PM.


#45 SecretAgentFan

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 05:02 AM

May I?  (Ooh, not that chap again...) 

 

Silva does not know the Mi6 agent sent after Patrice will overcome him.

 

- Silva at first only wants the list with the real names of agents in order to start his game with M.

 

- It´s accidentally Bond who goes after Patrice (in the PTS).  It is not Bond that Silva wants.  And when Bond seems to be killed it´s no problem for Silva´s plan.

 

- Silva continues with his plan to shame M, starting his threat of exposing agents, sending M the malware mail and causing the explosion at headquarters.

 

- Bond, however, is not dead and sent after Patrice.  Following the path to Silva via Severine.

 

- Silva finds it very amusing to have Bond sent to him since Bond seems to be "not ready", with M knowing it is likely he will die on this mission.  Silva would have used any agent - but the fact that it is Bond seems to prove his hatred against M is justified.



#46 RMc2

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 07:56 AM

May I?  (Ooh, not that chap again...) 

 

Silva does not know the Mi6 agent sent after Patrice will overcome him.

 

- Silva at first only wants the list with the real names of agents in order to start his game with M.

 

- It´s accidentally Bond who goes after Patrice (in the PTS).  It is not Bond that Silva wants.  And when Bond seems to be killed it´s no problem for Silva´s plan.

 

- Silva continues with his plan to shame M, starting his threat of exposing agents, sending M the malware mail and causing the explosion at headquarters.

 

- Bond, however, is not dead and sent after Patrice.  Following the path to Silva via Severine.

 

- Silva finds it very amusing to have Bond sent to him since Bond seems to be "not ready", with M knowing it is likely he will die on this mission.  Silva would have used any agent - but the fact that it is Bond seems to prove his hatred against M is justified.

 

That all makes sense. Except doesn't the plan still count on an agent getting to the Macau casino (via the clue in Patrice's case) and being picked up by Severine? In which case, he's still expecting Patrice to be defeated at some point?



#47 Dustin

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 10:42 AM

Of course Patrice will be defeated at some point after he's identified. Once his name was known there is little chance he's left alone in the long run.

But Patrice is hardly the crucial link here. Silva could have just as easily sent out word that he's selling the data, the SIS would have been an interested party for sure.

#48 SecretAgentFan

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 11:23 AM

True.   

 

I guess Silva just prefers a nice hide´n´seek, allowing Mi6 to feel clever.



#49 RMc2

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 11:44 AM

Yeah, I guess the Macau casino bit isn't necessary - as long as the agent following Patrice sees Severine in Shanghai (and isn't killed by Patrice), they can follow her trail to Silva.



#50 AMC Hornet

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 10:25 PM

I'm sure Silva's plan was flexible enough to include variables (Kronsteen, anyone?).

 

Patrice was a pawn, Severine was a pawn, Bond too - whatever it took to get Silva to London in such a way that M could gloat (which she refused to do) before Silva breaks out to come after her. If he'd been taken directly to Dartmoor or the Scrubs he would have had his people watching, ready to spring him in transit in time to hit the tube and make the inquiry.

 

Take him somewhere where being a techno-terrorist gives him no advantage and he's playing an away game.






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