Skyfall is an undeniably great film – however, there always felt to be an uncomfortable undercurrent of jingoism running through the movie. The Bond series and character in general has always been pitched as a bastion of old British values. Fleming fleshed out the character in the 1950s using Britain’s imperialistic past as the defining characteristic.
Skyfall seems to embrace those values more so than any other Bond film. The hero is a dogged and aged warrior who isn’t quite the force he once was, however, he’s given a chance to redeem himself and earn back some of his old prestige. Wasn’t this the pitch that the Leave campaign really pinned itself upon?
Also in a more literal sense, the villain is a European who poses a direct threat to British values by attacking the English capital and the state’s intelligence agencies in an orchestrated terrorist attack. The major sentiment in the Leave campaign, and what really swung it in their favour, was the emphasis they placed on immigrants and fear of them destroying Britain in both a literal and metaphorical sense.
SF is also a film that is very proud to flout the Union Jack on screen – often with Bond directly in frame.
Now there is a clear argument to counter this. SF was released in 2012 where there was a surge in British pride with the Olympics, the Queen’s jubilee and other events feeding into the film’s decision to embrace it’s Britishness. Even Sam Mendes acknowledged in interviews at the time that he felt the film was playing up the nationalism too much, but when editing the movie he was swept up in the euphoria surrounding Britain at the time. But in hindsight has this allowed the film to be misinterpreted as a result?
Personally, I feel that the references to Britain’s role in SF is less to do with reclaiming some old vestiges of past glories, but more with acknowledging it’s new role. Which may not be as grandiose or significant as it once was, but is still a force to be reckoned with. This argument is far better articulated in the Tennyson scene – but there is a distant feeling within me that Nigel Farage would adore this film, even if he has completely skewered in his interpretation. (Also I’m pretty convinced Bond is a Leave voter)