|“||Think on your sins.||„|
|~ Silva's taunting message to M.|
|“||Hello, James. Welcome. Do you like the island? My grandmother had an island. Nothing to boast of. You could walk around it in an hour. But still, it was, it was a paradise for us. One summer, we went for a visit and discovered the place had been infested with rats! They'd come on a fishing boat and gorged themselves on coconut. So how do you get rats off an island? Hmm? My grandmother showed me. We buried an oil drum and hinged the lid, then wired coconut to the lid as bait. And the rats would come for the coconut and... they would fall into the drum. And after a month, you have trapped all the rats. But what do you do then? Throw the drum into the ocean? Burn it? No. You just leave it. And they begin to get hungry. And one by one... they start eating each other until there are only two left. The two survivors. And then what? Do you kill them? No. You take them and release them into the trees. But now they don't eat coconut anymore. Now they only eat rat. You have changed their nature. The two survivors, this is what she made us.||„|
|~ Silva reflecting on M's betrayal compared to a rat story.|
Raoul Silva, originally named Tiago Rodriguez, is the main antagonist of the 23rd James Bond film Skyfall. He is a powerful cyber-terrorist who was once an honorable MI6 agent in the past, but was betrayed by M when she turned him over to the Chinese people during his mission at Hong Kong, which later motivated him into exacting revenge on M by jeopardizing her before killing her.
He was portrayed by Academy Award winning actor, Javier Bardem, who also portrayed Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men, Felix in The Gunman, and Captain Armando Salazar in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Tiago Rodriguez was once a Brazilian agent of MI6, working under M when she was the head of Station H, an MI6 division based in Hong Kong before the Handover in 1997 (the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong from the British to the Chinese). Hi
s relationship with M was similar to that of Bond's, considering himself her "favorite". For M's part, she certainly held him in high esteem, telling Bond that he was a "brilliant" agent back then. Soon before the Handover, Rodriguez began acted beyond his professional duties, resulting in M turning him over to the Chinese in exchange for six other agents. For five months they tortured him for information, but he refused to give up his secrets. Upon learning it was M that gave him up, he tried to commit suicide, but the cyanide didn't work and left him disfigured.
Silva made his presence known to M by sending her a taunting message before causing an explosion at the MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall Cross, forcing the agency to retreat to their underground offices. After Bond returned after being believed dead, M assigned him to hunt down the one behind the attack, sending him to Shanghai. After killing Patrice, he met with Severine, who agreed to take him to her boss.
Upon traveling to Silva's island, Bond was captured and met with Silva himself. The former agent spoke about their shared relationship with M, but as Bond proved to be resistant to his interrogation tactics, Silva lead him outside. He challenged Bond to shoot a whiskey glass on a tide up Severine's head with an antique Percussion Cap pistol. Due to the bullet wound in his shoulder, Bond missed his shot, after which Silva took the gun and shot Severine square in the face, killing her.
Using the distress beacon given to him by Q, Bond was able to call for reinforcements and have Silva captured. However, it turned out that Silva had planned for such event to happen in order to get to M, and then escaped when a virus from his laptop infected MI6's system as Q was attempting to decrypt it. The virus opened all electronically locked doors in the base, including the door to his cell. He intended to kill M at a public hearing by disguising himself as a policeman, but Bond pursued and thwarted the plan before escaping with M up to Scotland.
At Bond's ancestral home, the eponymous Skyfall, Silva eventually managed to corner M in the estate's chapel. However, upon seeing that she was already mortally wounded by a bullet wound, he broke down and became visibly upset that she was hurt. Then, realizing he can no longer bring himself to kill her, he forced his gun into her hand and held it to her temple while he pressed his head to the other side, begging her to kill them both with the same bullet. However, Bond hurled his father's old combat knife into Silva's back, killing him. Moments later, M succumbed to her wound and died, and thus Silva's plan ultimately succeeded.
In Spectre, it is revealed that Silva, along with Le Chiffre, and Dominic Greene, was affiliated with SPECTRE. It is most likely that Silva allied himself with the organization simply to further his own goals of revenge against M, with SPECTRE's leader, Franz Oberhauser, agreeing to assist as part of his true plan to inflict more psychological pain onto Bond.
Despite his chaotic methods, Silva maintained an air of calm and often handled things with ease - even after his men were killed by Bond, and later held at gunpoint by the latter, Silva remained completely reserved and even managed to mock him. He was charismatic and very strategic, thinking of all of his plans in full detail and trying not to leave anything to chance, or else was very good at improvising. Silva was extremely intelligent, able not only to outsmart M, but Q and Bond as well, even going so far to use them as part of his plan. He was also sexually ambiguous; he had a female lover and also made strong overtures toward Bond, though what precisely he meant by it and whether he is actually bisexual is left up for debate.
Though Silva maintained an intensely strong hatred towards M, he is also conflicted about her. He was convinced that he had survived to "look into [her] eyes one last time". During their confrontation in the MI6 cell room where he is held after his initial capture, he grew increasingly more agitated and deranged as she refused to show any remorse or regret for her actions, especially when she refuses to use his real name. He calls her "Mommy" or "Mother" multiple times, and he ultimately cannot bring himself to personally kill her. He does have a sarcastic wit, shown constantly against James Bond during their battle of wits.
It has been theorized that Silva had borderline personality disorder, which is characterized by intense fear of abandonment, emotional extremes, and an unstable sense of identity. He does show sociopathic behavior, including a laid-back reaction to dangerous or sadistic situations, a lack of compassion towards even his allies, and above all he was particularly sadistic towards M - before exploding MI6 he sent a computerized message mocking her, and later taunted her with unleashing names of NATO agents on YouTube to intensify the fact that she had failed.
Raoul Silva is a young, tall and a bit muscular man with long blonde hair and blue eyes; both are probably not natural. He wears a prosthetic upper jaw to conceal the damage done by the failed cyanide capsule; without it, his left cheek collapses, causing his lower eyelid to droop as well, and he is left with only a few stubs of teeth which are grey with decay (see below).
In his first appearance, he wears a cream jacket, a Prada tile print dress shirt, brown waistcoat and trousers, and brown shoes. After escaping his cell at MI6, he disguises himself as a Metropolitan police officer. In the final showdown at Skyfall, he wears all black: turtleneck, trenchcoat, trousers, and combat boots. His weapons of choice include explosives, a Glock 13, a Steyr M9-A1 (during the Skyfall assault), a helicopter gunship, a subway train, and antique flintlock dueling pistols (used to kill his lover Sévérine in a "William Tell" game he forces Bond to participate in).
Upon the film's release, Javier Bardem had received enormous widespread critical acclaim from both film critics and both audiences, whom amazingly praised Bardem's performance and his acting form and commented that Silva was "a classic, menacing and cool Bond villain", also many Bond fans worldwide had compared Silva to the Joker from DC Comics universe, especially that of the late Heath Ledger version, because of the reason that Silva was a ruthless, psychopathic and megalomaniacal terrorist.
- Silva is similar to several other Bond Villains:
- Alec Trevelyan from 1995's Goldeneye. 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).
- Francisco Scaramanga from 1974's The Man With the Golden Gun. 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.
- Elektra King/Renard from 1999's The World Is Not Enough. 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.
- Silva's fake teeth might be a reference to the legendary Bond henchman, Jaws.
- Silva's appearance may have been based on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
- 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.
- Silva's island was based on the real-life Japanese island of Hashima; Silva faked a leak at the island's chemical plant to cause the inhabitants to abandon it, based on the real chemical leak that caused the evacuation of the real island.
- The fallen statue on Silva's island is a reference to Percy Bysshe Shelley's sonnet "Ozymandius", which is about time and entropy making a mockery of once-mighty empires. The poem M quotes from at her hearing right before Silva storms in is Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Ulysses", which is about tenacity and striving forward even in the face of such decline.
- Originally, the German actor Michael Pink was supposed to play the role until Bardem got it. Still Pink is seen as a henchman in the battle scene at the end.
- He is the only main villain in the Bond reboot continuity to have onscreen kills.
- Silva is the first Bond villain to not have an operations base being destroyed.