Skyfall Plotholes

The plot holes in the script are well-documented, but do they matter to you, personally? What’s your way of looking beyond them all, given that it’s supposed to be a gritty, plausible film?

Why have a thread that focuses on just Skyfall’s plot holes but not the ones in the other 23?

None of these movies are supposed to be plausible. It entertained me and that’s all I ask out of a Bond film.


This does not need a thread of its own, god knows its discussed enough on other threads.

Well, I did look and there weren’t any other threads about it. They only go back to June '17.

And Skyfall, like all Craig films, are more rooted in reality.

I thought it was an all right question, myself, for fans.

For example, someone might say: “Thought the train plunge may be problematic, I like to think that Silva was just trying to cause chaos, and that he didn’t know Bond was going to follow him”.

I‘m not sure SKYFALL is supposed to be an awful lot more plausible than most other films in the series. Hollow volcanoes and private space stations reside fairly on the fantastic side of things, true. But not much more than running from assault rifle fire or surviving falls from great heights with near-fatal velocity. It’s a difference of degrees, not whole worlds. No Bond film was ever meant to be a documentary.

That said, there certainly is a difference in the plausibility of things - see above - and the plausibility of characters. And here SKYFALL outshines most other entries in the 007 canon by a sun. SKYFALL’s scrip contains a couple of ludicrous examples of implausibility, from the fall from the bridge to how Bond immediately deciphers animated graphics as a coded London tube plan, together with the relevant focus on where the action was going to take place. But all these convenient plot holes relate to the realm of things, to the way things in Bond’s world unfold (un-)naturally.

Meanwhile the characters, their motivations and actions remain sound and plausible under the given circumstances. And SKYFALL depends much more on this triangle of Silva-M-Bond than on inconsistencies in the detail of events. The story itself remains intact.

Actually, what is the story of SKYFALL? I ask because the answer will help us see why the ludicrous derailed tube and the Goldfinger-toy Aston don’t crack the tale wide open.

It begins, like any tale from our reality, with ‘Once upon a time…’

Once upon a time there was a master spy. And her name, such as it matters, was M. And like any name that is worth its capital, this was also an omen because she also was a mother to her most precious assets. For she knew the best spies act out of love. And who’d be more devoted to the cause than an orphan offered a surrogate mother, a family? Thus she recruited her agents young. And the best of them were real orphans.

One day the most precious of them, the most talented and effective one, fell from grace because he exceeded his brief. It wasn’t the first time, nor likely the tenth. Previously, such misconduct didn’t matter. Sadly, now it came at a time when it just wasn’t opportune to turn a blind eye on this child’s escapades. Being a good master spy with her career firmly in her sights, she just disowned her unruly child. Silva went into a Chinese prison, M went to the head office of the SIS.

There came a deep slumber over the fate of the unruly child. Nobody knew what happened to him. Nobody asked either. The master spy M had become the spy master of all Britain’s agents. And once more she had a favourite pupil, once more an orphan she had recruited young. Once more she was regarded as - almost - a mother. And the Service had become the surrogate family.

But now an ugly stranger knocked against the gates of the SIS. With a bomb, so we might say he blew the gates right in. And it turns out it isn’t a stranger at all; it’s last decades’ model of M’s champion. And thus the new favourite pupil - every bit as unruly as his predecessor - learns about the fate of Silva. And how he came to be what he is.

And without going too deep into the details of the whole unsavoury affair it must be said that M doesn’t cut a shining figure in it all. Now her former agent is out for her blood. Only he can’t kill his mother, so he kills all her royal household - or at least all he can reach.

Now it’s time for M’s other champion to make up his mind. Should he leave M and his almost-family in the hour of need - or stay loyal to her despite her shortcomings and fight a guy whose fate he might have shared? It’s not really a question. While he understood well enough what happened to Silva, and why, and while he’s clearly had his differences with M himself, there is no question as to his loyalty.

And so Bond and M head north and things take their course.

This is of course a bit winding and most of the first part happened off-screen, though we get some of it illustrated quite vividly. The important thing is, nowhere does the fall from the bridge appear, or the near supernatural escape from the secret SIS base, or the countless other things people cite as SKYFALL’s plotholes.

It is arguable whether SKYFALL actually qualifies as a Bond film. But the actions and intentions of the protagonists remain intact from the first to last frame.

That’s why I like SKYFALL quite a lot and need not bother with its faults.


Well said, Dustin. I’d like to have seen all that on the screen. Maybe have Bond not feaure for the first twenty minutes, and show that he may be the centre of his world to us, but he isn’t to anyone around him. In such a way, it would almost be a little like a Columbo episode, or The Usual Suspects.

I’m quite a cheerleader for Purvis & Wade, though DAD and TWINE are not big favourites of mine (I’ll give them a pass for QoS - as they said themselves, Eon should have accepted their draft as final). I think people can dismiss them too readily in favour of someone with trophies, like John Logan, but they’ve stayed the course.

I’m a big plot fan, and was crestfallen when I didn’t like Skyfall - I went to see it three times in the cinema, just to try and like it - and will watch it again with your words foremost in my mind. I actually made notes on the last forum of some positive comments which I mean to read whenever I give it another go.

It wasn’t my intention to diss the film, I just thought we could fill in some of the holes together.

Quite a number of people can’t get over the holes, nothing wrong with that. There are traces of some heavy-handed writing, some things could have been explained away or addressed by Bond himself. Overall, it’s still fairly good for a production that usually doesn’t go too far into the characters. But a number of respected fans don’t see it my way, that’s neither right nor wrong.

That’s understandable but also take into account the old site…

As for plotholes in general:

the term is often misunderstood and mistaken for ellipsis.

Let me put on my wiseass-hat and elaborate.

An ellipsis is a deliberate jump from one plot point to the next without explaining the transition - because it is either obvious or too boring or both.

A plothole can be detected if the jump from one plot point to the next is inexplicable, a deliberate choice, mostly because one wants to reach a plot point but decides not to provide the necessary link to make the narrative plausible.

Rarely a plothole occurs because the author was too lazy to see it. Most of the time last-minute rewrites, changes on set or in the editing suite cause these narrative links to be dropped.

Sometimes, of course, there is also a link that is based on a coincidence which some viewers might consider plausible while others laugh it off as unrealistic.

If you look at life one has to acknowledge that so many things happen by coincidence that one rarely would consider them to be believable in a work of fiction.

Then again, audiences often want to see a work of fiction structured more rigidly and plausibly, and if something happens only by coincidence it might leave one unsatisfied.

Concerning SKYFALL I do acknowledge that many parts of Silva´s scheme rely on actions happening just at the right time.

But… I cannot say that these coincidences are impossible. And I also cannot say that if they did not happen exactly in this way Silva would not have come up with a Plan B.

Look at the often as plothole derided train sequence. Could Silva know that Bond would track him down at the right time so Silva could make his “radio”-reference and crash the train right there? Of course not.

However, I always thought that Silva chose this exit on purpose and planned to crash the train there just to make sure nobody could follow him through that exit. Bond was not part of that plan, but his appearance at that place in that time led to that dialogue.

The same thing applies, in my mind, with the rest of SIlva´s plan. If Bond had not been sent after Silva to get him to London, I’m sure Silva would have used another scheme for that.

We are just witnesses to this particular chain of events because we want Bond to be hot on Silva´s heels and unwittingly become part of the whole plan because this makes for higher drama.

Could it have been constructed differently, showing less dependence on coincidences? Sure. But this is what was chosen. And it did work for the majority of viewers.

Let’s face it: is there any movie or narrative which in constructed in a way that one could not find even the tiniest trace of coincidence? If so, please give an example.


The plot holes in Skyfall never once did anything to hamper my enjoyment of it. As stated above, every film has its plot holes, like how exactly did Bond and Anya manage to find the exact one other submarine in the world that Stromberg was planning on stealing? Or that Jill Masterson wouldn’t have actually died from being painted gold. With the train bit, I was always of the mind that Silva was always going to destroy that train and it was just a coincidence Bond was there. Though with Silva’s planning he probably expected Bond would follow him. Dont think too hard, just enjoy it

I think you can do from being painter gold. The skin suffocates.

Just in the movies - you don’t breathe through your skin :wink:

You cant die from skin suffocation. You can be drowned in paint, you can suffocate if the paint blocks your air passages (nose and mouth), molten paint will kill you by burning you, but you cant die from skin suffocation. Just how Bond wouldn’t have died if the tarantula had bitten him in Dr. No. More likely Bond was wrong and Jill may have been dumped in paint and drowned and then left on the bed after the paint had dried. Quantum of Solace fixed this by having Fields’ drowned in oil, not painted with it.

I think with regards to SKYFALL that it has more to do with the manner in which the film is presented (i.e. fairly serious, at times borderline pretentious) versus the presentation of the other films that has a lot of those that can’t get past the plotholes coming from that viewpoint of the film.

For example, Mendes wants us to take the film seriously, as he presents a deadly serious main plot of an agent wanting revenge on his former boss for crimes he feels she committed against him, and it’s presented in a (mostly) deadly serious tone, yet we’re then left to all of a sudden suspend our disbelief for moments like Bond somehow surviving falling off the train and then again off of a waterfall, or Silva’s inexplicably elaborate and borderline clairvoyant planning of his capture and ultimate escape from MI6 custody and then finding M’s hearing.

The plotholes don’t bother me as much anymore as they used to. Quite frankly, I’ve got more important and serious things going on than to worry anymore about something as trivial as plotholes in a Bond film, but they’re certainly there and, I think for those of us who railed against them at the time (and for those that still do), it’s the presentation of the film that causes more of a reaction against them in SKYFALL than in the other Bond films.


This, exactly, times a hundred.

The plot holes are more jarring in The Dark Knight Rises, say, than Batman Forever.

Not to pontificate or nothin’, but…

The only reason Stromberg hijacked the USN Wayne was because it was shadowing the Liparus. The real question is, why was there room for three submarines in the tanker when Stromberg only needed two? Answer: in case the Liparus found itself being shadowed. It wasn’t out hunting for the Wayne.
Some questions are not so easily answered without fan-based suppositions, like how does ‘radar jamming’ hide a satellite 200 meters in diameter (and how did it get up there in the first place)?

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Okay, I can accept that explanation. I guess the bigger question is, if the Wayne was shadowing the Liparus, how did they lose it and allow it sneak up on them? I think the captain is going to be court-martialed more for that than allowing Bond to save a Russian agent.

That’s the way I view the scene, too.

Silva’s beef was always with M. She was always his number one target.

M sent a weakened Bond after Silva, and that only served to aggravate Silva more. From his point of view, M screwed him over, and she was doing it again to Bond. Silva wanted Bond to see that.

Silva hated Bond but he hated M’s influence on both of their lives more.

I also like how Bond was a contrast to Silva. One left the service and operated independently, serving the role of a terrorist. The other rejoined the service and put any grudges he had behind him.

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Exactly. And the longer I think about it, Silva (and Bardem´s portrayal) is actually what makes me forget about all the flaws of the film. He is one of the best villains if not THE best villain in Bond films history, for my taste.


Sanchez just pips him for my money, but indeed, Silva is a classic modern villain.