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Raoul Silva

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"Look upon your work... mother."
― Silva to M.[src]

Raoul Silva, born Tiago Rodriguez, is a fictional cyber-terrorist and former Secret Intelligence Service (SIS/MI6) operative who appeared in the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall, portrayed by Javier Bardem. He is the film's primary antagonist. The character is later referenced in the film's sequel Spectre (2015), where a connection is established between Silva and the criminal organization Spectre in which he is shown to be a member.

Film biography

Spoiler warning: This article contains spoilers! Plot and/or ending details follow.


Tiago Rodriguez

Born Tiago Rodriguez, little is known about Silva's early though he seems to be Hispanic. He later relates a childhood story to a captive James Bond, describing how he spent time with his grandmother on an island, where she taught him how to rid the island of its rat infestation by capturing them in oil drums. He utilizes the image of the trapped rats turning to cannibalism as a metaphor for what the life of a spy does to its participants - namely himself. During his years in the Intelligence Service, Silva had worked alongside Olivia Mansfield (who would later be promoted to 'M') in Hong Kong from 1986 to 1995. Mansfield, who was section chief at the time, noticed that the operative had engaged in unauthorized hacking of the Chinese. With the Chinese closing in on Rodriguez and the upcoming transition of Hong Kong from a British colony to a special administrative region, (Transfer of Sovereignty) Mansfield sacrificed the hacker in exchange for six prisoners held by the Communist Chinese government and a smooth transition.

During his five month captivity, torture and imprisonment by the Chinese, Silva attempted to take his own life using a hydrogen cyanide implant in one of his molars. The suicide attempt failed, horrifically scarring Silva both mentally and physically and he claimed it burned his insides.. The botched attempt is shown to have severely damaged his upper jaw so his left cheek is sunken leaving him with a drooping eyelid bloodshot eyes and a slurred raspy speech. His Hispanic tan is replaced with a pale demeanour.He is also shown to have rotten decaying gums and all but a few teeth have melted away with the few remaining having been mutilated and deformed, requiring Silva to wear a prosthesis to replace the teeth and inflate his left cheek and also to presumably help him breath. The false teeth might have some sort of inhalers and Electrolanryx. When taken out his face is disfigured.

Revenge

Javier Bardem as Silva (Promotional)

Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva in a promotional shoot for the movie.

Years later, he improves his hacking skills and rises in the criminal empire. He takes former prostitute Severine under his wing, but the merciful man she thought he was was a lie. He causes a fake leak at a chemical Plant on the island of Hashima then claiming it. It is implied that he rigged the 2011 national Ugandan elections and recently crippled economies through Stock Exchanges. After he does this MI6 face a crisis when the mercenary Patrice steals a hard drive containing the identities of every NATO agent currently in the field, who were all embedded in terrorist organizations (SPECTRE) across the globe, and delivered it to Silva. (After this he is shown in the opening Sequence as a silhouette) Silva ensures that M is at the centre of the crisis by decrypting the drive using M's personal computer, via a hack, and sending her a message advising her to "think on her sins" before bombing her office (knowing that she isn't inside), bringing her under pressure from the government to resign. He then posts videos on YouTube of their names and threatens that he will persistently post five more every week. Later on as M meets with Mallory to discuss what to do with Raoul Silva they watch the news which shows agents being executed in an abandoned warehouse. (Later revealed to be Hashima Island)

Despite the injuries he sustained on a botched mission to retrieve the drive from Patrice, and ignoring the poor results of his re-entry test, M dispatches James Bond to Shanghai after receiving a tip from the CIA about Patrice's next contract. Patrice has been assigned by Silva to kill an art critic. Though he is unsuccessful in learning Silva's identity after Patrice falls to his death from a skyscraper, Bond is able to locate Patrice's contact in a casino in Macau: Silva's mistress, Sévérine, who desperately asks that he kills Silva.

Bond boards Sévérine's yacht at night, which departs to a remote island off the coast of Macau  Hashima Island- a former chemical plant which Silva had taken for himself by issuing a false alarm declaring a major leak, prompting all of the workers to evacuate. On the island, Silva's men take Sévérine away and restrain Bond in a chair at the end of a long room filled with Silva's electronic equipment in his warehouse. Silva enters to confront Bond, revealing his former status as an MI6 operative and gruesomely comparing Bond and himself to two tortured rats as a result of M's deceptive nature.

"She sent you after me knowing you are not ready, knowing you will likely die...Mommy was very bad."
― Raoul Silva interrogating Bond, referring to M.

Taking Bond outside, Silva then has Sévérine tied to a collapsed statue, placing a small glass of alcohol on her head and forcing Bond to try to knock it off her head with a shot from an old single- shot flintlock pistol. Though Bond tries to spare her by aiming to her side, Silva then takes up his own pistol and shoots her instantly, causing the glass to fall from her head, but as he contemplates killing Bond, Bond is able to incapacitate all of his men with a startled Silva backing away with no shots left dropping his pistol. Before Silva has a chance to escape, helicopters that Bond signaled prior to arriving on the island finally arrive, and the team captures Silva.

Captivity & escape

Silva's disfigurement

Silva's disfigurement is revealed during his incarceration by MI6.

Back in England, Silva is confined within MI6's underground emergency headquarters, which they had retreated to following the explosion in M's office. When M confronts him in his cell, he expresses his hatred for her after his capture by the Chinese and his failed suicide attempt, and his determination to bring about her downfall. When she is about to leave he shows her what the Suicide Pill did to him by removing his prosthetic dentures. A shocked disturbed remorseful M leaves in horror as Silva grins with a gaping jaw and laughs maniacally.Meanwhile, Q acquires Silva's computer and decrypts a complex algorithm on its drive, with the Password being Granborough  which unlocks to form a detailed electronic map of underground London. In connecting Silva's computer to his own, Q inadvertently allows Silva to hack MI6's systems using a virus, releasing him from his cell and allowing him to escape into the subway through a floor grate.

Skyfall - Silva firing his weapon during the hearing

Silva attempts to murder M during the public inquiry.

Realizing that Silva has always been one step ahead of them the whole time, his capture by MI6 and subsequent escape having been planned years in advance (SPECTRE might have had a hand in this), Bond deduces that he plans to travel along the subway and emerge at the scene of a public inquiry into M's actions regarding the stolen hard drive. Silva is successfully able to evade Bond at end of the chase by detonating an underground bomb that causes an incoming train to derail, almost crushing Bond. He then makes his way to the inquiry with a small number of henchmen, storming in and firing frantically at M but missing when Mallory takes the hit for her. He never manages to hit M, as he panics when Bond suddenly arrives, who kicks a gun over to Eve Moneypenny and allows her to join him returning fire. After Mallory joins them and they manage to shoot down the rest of Silva's men, Bond shoots the room's fire extinguishers, creating s smokescreen and allowing M to escape.

Skyfall

Silvahouette

Silva leaves the scene after destroying the Bond family home.

After Silva flees the scene, Bond takes M and leaves London, knowing that Silva and his men will come back in full force after his long-planned strategy failed him. Assigning Q to leave a complex electronic trail that only Silva will be able to follow, Bond takes M to Skyfall, his remote childhood home in Scotland, intending to lead Silva into a trap. With help from the house's gamekeeper, Kincade, Bond and M rig the house with a range of booby traps and explosives, and finish just as a wave of armed henchmen(possible SPECTRE soldiers) begins to approach from a hilltop. Though most of the henchmen are easily dispatched by the traps and by Bond and Kincade, one of them manages to wound M with a shot to the hip before being killed by Bond.

Bond notices that Silva was not among the gunmen, and having already used all of the traps, he tells Kincade to evacuate M to the nearby chapel via a tunnel beneath the house. Night falls, and a second wave of men, including Silva, arrive in a helicopter. The Helicopter flies around the house shooting through the barricaded Windows continuously before landing outside of the manor.  Silva strides out of the helicopter with his band of mercenaries and throws grenades into the mansion as he makes his way to the manor house. After throwing Grenades through windows and taunting Bond he circles the manor house and waves his arm to Bonds Car. The helicopter then shoots it and it blows up.

Bond finds a pair of gas tanks and a stick of dynamite, timing them to explode after he escapes through the tunnel himself. Silva and his henchmen circle the house before it explodes, which manages to kill and incinerate the majority of the gunmen and causes the helicopter to crash with an angered and shocked Silva to look on in horror before being temporarily knocked out by the blast.(he is presumed by the audience to have been blown up)

Death

Silva's Death

Silva lies dead on the ground with a combat knife in his back.

"Last rat standing."
― Bond's final words to Silva
Silva gets up and looks at the blazing wreckage he is in. Looking across the moors, a crazed and determined Silva spots Kincade's flashlight as he escorts M towards the chapel, and stumbles after them. Bond emerges from the tunnel in pursuit, incapacitating one of Silva's two remaining henchmen by fly-kicking him resulting in his neck being snapped. He purposely falls through the frozen ice on a lake while fighting the other gunman, allowing Silva to reach the chapel and approach M while Kincade is coincidentally out of sight. Despite his hatred for her, he appears worried when he sees her bleeding wound, but nonetheless holds a gun to her head. When he struggles to execute her himself, he forces the gun into her hand, placing his head beside hers and demanding that she kill both him and herself with a single bullet through their heads. At this point Silva's Psyche seems to have shattered even more.
"You're hurt. You're hurt! What have they done to you? What have they done to you? [puts his gun in her hand] Free us both. With the same bullet. Only you can do it. Do it! Do it!"
― Silva urges M to kill them both.[src]

Bond arrives at the last minute and hurls his father's old combat knife into Silva's back, declaring himself the "last rat standing" in reference to Silva's earlier speech. Silva collapses, dead, but his plan ultimately suceeds, as M collapses in Bond's arms and dies from her wound. 

After Skyfall Silva is probably cremated.

Spectre

Throughout Spectre, Silva is frequently referenced. The character appears during the film's opening credits sequence in Shattered glass alongside the former M, Le Chiffre and Vesper Lynd. During the course of the film a connection is established between Silva and the criminal organization Spectre. As Q analyses Marco Sciarra's Spectre ring, the technology links the object to Silva along with several other antagonists from previous films. He is also mention by Blofeld as one of his connections. The final reference to Silva appears in the film's climax where 007 is kidnapped and taken to the soon-to-be demolished SIS Building. A print-out of his face adorns one of several cardboard cut-outs in the building's now dilapidated shooting range. The irreparable damage he caused to the building is clearly shown.

Personality

Silva was highly charismatic, cunning, manipulative and a fully-fledged megalomaniac. On the surface, he displays an peculiarly quirky, colourful and flamboyant personality. However, this conceals a far darker, cynical, crueller and more vindictive side; born from his perceived betrayal by the Secret Intelligence Service while conducting unsanctioned operations in Hong Kong. Extremely intelligent, Silva demonstrated his flair for hacking, psychological manipulation and tactical planning; allowing himself to be captured by SIS in a bid to exact revenge on M. In the course of doing so, he often reveals an apparent disregard for the safety of his own life. Despite being revealed to have been funded by Ernst Stavro Blofeld he proved himself to be master at puppeteering as well. Despite being a pawn he certainly was not a puppet. Despite his cunning and pragmatism, Silva was also notably bombastic - displaying a flair for theatrics with a dark sense of humor. Silva also seemed to have an appreciation for classical music, notably Boum by Charles Trenet. During his attack on Skyfall Lodge, he had outfitted his assault helicopter with nearly a dozen loudspeakers - solely for playing rock music during the attack (namely Boom Boom, by The Animals). As Bond put it, he "always [had] to make an entrance."

Appearance

Raoul Silva was a Hispanic man with Peroxide Blonde hair (probably unnatural and Dyed) which was parted to the right. He wore a prosthetic mouthpiece to hide his Cyanide inflicted burns. He  had a flamboyant style and wore a cream coloured suit with a Prada tile print shirt. He also has a brown waistcoat with matching trousers and shoes. In his next appearing his confinement he wears a pale cream Jumpsuit with trainers. After he disguises himself as a metropolitan Police officer he is mistaken for one. In the final act in the Movie he has a long trenchcoat a communication earpiece a black shirt and combat boots.

Henchmen & Associates

Behind the scenes

Discussing his character prior to Skyfall's release, actor Javier Bardem described Raoul Silva as "more than a villain". His co-star, Daniel Craig stated that Bond has a "very important relationship" to Silva.[1] In casting the role, director Sam Mendes admitted that he lobbied hard for Bardem to accept the part as Mendes recognised the potential for the character to be recognised as one of the most-memorable characters in the franchise and so wanted to create "something [the audience] may consider to have been absent from the Bond movies for a long time".[2]

He felt that Bardem was one of the few actors up to the task of becoming "colourless" and existing within the world of the film as something more than a function of the plot, and so pushed hard for the actor to be cast.[3] In preparing for the role, Bardem had the script translated into his native Spanish in order to better-understand his character, which Mendes cited as being a sign of the actor's commitment to the film.[4] Bardem dyed his hair blond for the role after brainstorming ideas with Mendes to come up with a distinct visual look for the character.[5]

In Other Media

On a funny or die sketch by Children of Maslenations he is parodied with Bond. In another sketch about a Jewish version of James Bond Patton Oswalt plays a villain with the same style of suit as Silva and is in a scene reminiscent of Silvas entrance in Skyfall. In the BAFTA awards of 2012 Comedian and actor David Walliams parodied him.

Gallery

Videos

Trivia

  • Javier Bardem is the first Spanish actor ever to portray a Bond villain.
  • Originally, the Austrian actor Michael Pink was supposed to play Silva until Bardem got the role. Still Pink is seen as a henchman in the battle scenes at the end.
  • Silva is similar several other Bond villains:
    • Francisco Scaramanga : Both have some form of Hispanic heritage, and are presented as being Bond's equal. Both feel they share a certain special connection with James because they find themselves to be two of a kind. (Scaramanga highlighting how, "We are the best" in their murderous field/Silva about how M made them the "two survivors". Their connections to M also binding them on a kind of emotional level). Both also are at times seen acting with a deal of eccentricity (and at times even sort of giddiness), particularly in their interactions with Bond. Both also have island lairs near China, and have a woman in their service (Andrea Anders/Sévérine) who is fearful of them and come to have hopes that Bond can kill their employers only to have Scaramanga and Silva eventually shoot and kill them personally.
    • Alec Trevelyan : Both are ex-agents who had once served for MI6 and had close personal relationships with one of their co-workers (Bond for Trevelyan/M for Silva). Because of this, both are seen as "Anti-Bonds". Both seek justice for a betrayal done by MI6 (MI6 handing the Trevelyans and the Lienz Cossacks back to the Russians/MI6 for trading Silva over to the Chinese in order to free six captive agents). After leaving MI6 both start their own criminal rings, and major components of their plans involve great use of computer hacking. Both also received massive damage to their faces (Part of Trevelyan's face being burned by the explosion in the Soviet chemical plant in the opening of Goldeneye/Massive burning damage was done to Silva's face during a failed attempt at using a suicide cyanide pill that forces him to wear a brace in his mouth).
    • Elektra King/Renard : Both are motivated by some wrong that M had committed against them in the past and intended to kill her. In both cases, M took the option most dictated by duty rather than compassion or loyalty. Both Elektra/Renard and Silva remotely set off explosions in the Vauxhall Building, the official headquarters of MI6. Elektra is particularly resentful of her father, who had consulted with M when Elektra had been kidnapped years before (M advised her father not to pay the ransom asked for, as it would be "negotiating with terrorists"). Silva sees M herself as a mother figure.
  • He is the third villain in the reboot series named after a colour (first two being Mr. White and Dominic Greene), although his name is not exactly the same as "silver".
  • He is the first - and, to date, only - main villain in the reboot series to be killed by James Bond. (Le Chiffre was killed by Mr. White, Dominic Greene was killed by an assassin, Mr. White committed suicide, and Blofeld survived).
  • He is currently the only Bond Villain in the Reboot series to have on-screen kills.
  • Silva's fake teeth might be a reference to the legendary Bond henchman, Jaws.
  • The whiskey Silva pours out for Bond is a 50-year-old MacAllan, a reference to the fact that Skyfall was the 50th anniversary film.
  • Although officially confirmed, his first name Raoul is never mentioned anywhere throughout the film but the reason for this is unknown.
  • His message. "Think On Your Sins" is an anagram for Your Son isnt in HK as well as an acronym for T.O.Y.S. describing how M's spies are like toys and are played until they are broken and thrown away.

References

  1. Garibaldi, Christina. "Daniel Craig Talks 'Bigger, Better' Bond On 'Skyfall' Set", MTV, Viacom, 10 April 2012. Retrieved on 10 April 2012. 
  2. Rutter, Clare. "Sam Mendes On 'Skyfall' Villain Javier Bardem: 'Silva's Up There With The Greats'", WntertinmentWise, 31 August 2012. Retrieved on 31 August 2012. 
  3. "Javier Bardem is the perfect villain", Sky News Australia, BSkyB, 31 August 2012. Retrieved on 31 August 2012. 
  4. "Javier Bardem GQ Interview: On 'Skyfall' And Turning Down 'Minority Report'", Moviefone, AOL, 20 September 2012. Retrieved on 21 September 2012. 
  5. Martinovic, Paul. "Javier Bardem on 'Skyfall': "I don't want to see my funny hair"", Digital Spy, 30 September 2012. Retrieved on 1 October 2012. 

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