Casino Royale: Movie Review
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Starring: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, Jeffery Wright
Released by: Sony Pictures
In Short: Audiences have loved to hate him, but Daniel Craig has no problem filling some very large spy shoes. Bond is back, and better than ever, with gorgeous women, fast cars, and awesome fight and chase scenes.
Blue Eyes and a Buff
Bod Take Us Back to the Basics
the release of "Casino Royale," the 21st chapter
in the much-loved James Bond film franchise, 007 is permanently
transformed — and happily returned to author Ian Fleming's
original vision of the suave British secret agent. Blue-eyed,
blondish Brit Daniel Craig takes over the iconic role
and almost (but not quite) makes us forget all the Bonds
that have come before, giving a gritty, nuanced performance
in this jump-back to the origins of the character.
on Fleming's first novel in the series, the film asks
us to take a leap of faith and allow the franchise to
begin again, as we learn about Bond's beginnings as an
agent for MI6, Britain's elite secret service. The leap
the audience must take is the willingness to allow the
idea that Bond is beginning his career in 2006, not back
in 1961, before "Dr. No" (and Sean Connery)
burst onto the big screen, with the Bond character fully
to go along with that conceit is easy, however, as director
Martin Campbell and screenwriters Paul Haggis, Neil Purvis
and Robert Wade have fashioned a literate, believable
story that is rooted closer in reality than many of the
Bond films that have come before, centered around a particularly
nasty financier who funds worldwide terrorism by manipulating
the stock market.
the twists on the traditional 007 opening adventure sequence
to moments of brutality more in keeping with a Scorsese
film, "Casino Royale" is a rollicking ride.
Still peppered with all the key elements that have made
James Bond such a perennial favorite (gorgeous women,
fast cars, awesome fight/chase sequences, uniquely twisted
bad guys), the movie is also a keen psychological look
at the early life moments that turned Bond into the ultimate
hard-nosed, ice-in-his-veins super spy.
Naturally, it is Craig's performance that is at the heart
of the film and the accomplished 38-year-old steps up
to the challenge admirably. He gives Bond a blend of arrogance,
recklessness and brute physical force (Whew! What a body!),
traits that almost get him killed just as he wins his
007 designation. Unlike other incarnations of Bond, this
one actually has a character arc, with life-shifting experiences
that shake his foundations and change him irrevocably,
and Craig plays that shift with a deft subtlety that bodes
well for the next installment.
strong performances across the board from the supporting
cast (although we missed the presence of a "Q"
character to give us a gadget update), especially from
Eva Green as Bond's sexual foil and the perennially wonderful
Judi Dench as "M," along with great action,
stunning scenery, and a leading man who is every inch
the character we love, there's no doubt about it: Bond
is back, and better than ever.
Reviewed by Jenny Peters
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