Wednesday, 23 September 2020
Casino Royale
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Tuesday, 21 November 2006 21:12


When Pierce Brosnan was cast as a “modern Bond” I thought he fit the bill quite nicely. Clean cut, refined, with an air of aristocratic elegance. So when it was announced that the filmmakers wanted to reinvent the franchise in Casino Royale I got a little worried. Rumors started flying that Colin Farrell or Ewen McGregor would fill the roll. No. What about Orlando Bloom? No, no, NO!!! These choices were all wrong. So, it was with mixed relief and perplexity that I welcomed Daniel Craig to the role.

Audiences on this side of the pond might be asking “Daniel who?” Allow me to clarify. How about Daniel “Tomb Raider, Elizabeth, Road to Perdition, Layer Cake, Munich, Infamous” Craig? It’s true; we have seen him before, and in some pretty popular titles nonetheless! But as the new James Bond, Daniel Craig has become a household name.

Don’t hate me for this but after seeing Casino Royal I wished I could enter a time warp and remake all of the Bond films with Daniel Craig in the lead. He combines body and brains, and looks like he could box you with one hand while reading an encyclopedia with the other.

The film takes place at the beginning of Bond’s career. In the black and white opening scene, his opponent teases that it takes two kills to become a Double-Oh. “Don't worry Bond. They say the second one is” – Bond puts a bullet in his head before he even finishes the sentence. Easier. Yes, yes it is. This leads us into one of the most gorgeous opening credit sequences I’ve ever seen – worth the price of admission. The film starts with a bang (if you’ll excuse the expression) and keeps the pace for two-and-a-half hours that seem to fly by.

Bond is sent to track down one of the most notorious suppliers of terrorism money. His search leads him to a man named Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) who is about to enter a high-stakes poker tournament in Montenegro. Bonds ability to read people makes him an great player, so he is supplied with several million dollars to compete. The goal is to make sure Le Chiffre loses the game and is put out of commission.

You would think that a game of poker might limit the amount of action in the film, but that definitely is not the case. 007 has more that his share of stunts which include climbing scaffolding to the top of a construction site, stopping a bomber in an airport, and surviving cardiac arrest. One of the things I liked best about this film is that our leading man gets his share of cuts and bruises. The fight scenes are brutal and realistic with much clumsy grappling for the upper hand. The tension is thick, even in scenes around the card table.

And what would a James Bond film be without the traditional “Bond Girl”. In this case she is an accountant sent to keep an eye on the investments. Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) is an independent woman who hides her vulnerability but the roguish Bond has no trouble seeing past her defenses. It is rare that James actually falls in love with his leading lady, but in this case he does, making him more human and far more complex.

Although the story was a bit predictable, I had a lot of fun watching this new interpretation of James Bond. I give Casino Royale 7 out of 10.