Saturday, November 18, 2006

MOVIE REVIEW: Casino Royale

After the first five minutes Daniel Craig made Pierce Brosnan, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and George Lazenby look like little sissy girls with wet knickers. Yes, people it is official Daniel Craig is the true heir to the Bond franchise, may he rule with distinction and bad assery. It was weird seeing the opening credits with the Columbia logo and not the UA logo of old. It really felt like they were really making changes and trying to get the feel of the books written by Ian Fleming. Bond (Daniel Craig) appears in Black and White confronting a man that will inevitably allow the spy to obtain his 00 status. In order to obtain his license to kill Bond has to make two kills. His first kill is jarring and brutal. His second, as the intended target admits, is considerably easier. This movie was well written, action packed and Daniel Craig's portrayal of Bond as a blunt instrument is dead on accurate to the book.

James Bond is the best poker player in Her Majesty's Secret Service. M (Dame Judy Dench) sends him to Casino Royale in Montenegro to play a high stakes poker game with a French banker named Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) who uses his winnings to fund terrorists. Bond's mission is to clean out the Frenchman in order to apprehend him and break him for questioning. M doesn't trust Bond so she sends an accountant Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) to keep an eye on him and the money.
As I revealed there is no plot to destroy or conquer the world. No crazy underground bunkers or hidden lairs. You have an intelligent, athletic crafty and cold agent in her Majesty's Service who is capable of confounding the enemy in whatever way possible. He is not much of a talker and if you step to him he will kick your ass with an icy blue stare. Daniel Craig has all of the toughness of Connery. He also has an added gift that belonged to another actor of Connery's generation. Steve McQueen. Craig not only looks a hell of a lot like McQueen he has also inherited McQueen's uncanny ability to allow the audience into his head without uttering a single word. It's all in the eyes. Craig has that in spades and it's great to watch as his Bond cases a situation before he steps in to act. You can see it working in his eyes as he figures out his first move. It also plays well into the general theme of this film; which is understanding your opponent, looking for the tell or the bluff, the parallels between the mission and the game and how they impact each other. Let me also say that I have always thought Eva Green was attractive but for some reason in this film she is smoking hot. She is a great actress and really shows her range as she confounds the audience and Bond to her true motives.

The film was fast paced and brilliantly filmed. I loved the contribution from character actors like Jeffrey Wright who played Felix Leiter and Giancarlo Giannini as Mathis. This is the second Bond film directed by Martin Campbell who was at the helm of the very successful Goldeneye starring Pierce Brosnan. It's a solid film with intrigue and action and excellent writing. This Bond is how I believe Fleming imagined him, not a real hero but a serious man who does whatever is necessary to get the job done.

Grade: 5 Buckets


J. Zacholl said...

Haven't seen it yet but after reading your review I will definatly make a point of getting there soon.

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