Saturday, 10 November 2012

Casino Royale (2006) - ★★★★

Director: Martin Campbell
Writers: Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade
Stars: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Judi Dench, Mads Mikkelsen, Giancarlo Giannini

This James Bond is different to every other one I've seen by miles. He has a ruggedness to him that I like. Daniel Craig has thrown off the suave persona that has enveloped this character throughout the Brosnan and Moore era, and has breathed new life into him. He's unpredictable, he's likable, and most importantly, he is human.

After being promoted to a 00, James Bond (Daniel Craig) has been assigned his first mission, in which he faces the mysterious private banker to world terrorism and expert poker player, Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen). In order to recover a huge sum of his clients' money he lost, Le Chiffre sets up a high stakes poker game, believing that he will win the money back. Bond takes part also in order to prevent Le Chiffre from funding terrorism and to discover the secrets that he is hiding. He is accompanied by a stunning Treasury agent named Vespa (Eva Green) and the MI6 man in Montenegro (Giannini). 007 will not only discover the threatening oranization behind his enemy, but the worst of all truths: to not trust anyone.

You could say that Casino Royale explains the origin of James Bond. It explores how he became a 00, why he is a womanizer, and why he doesn't trust many people. It had me saying "Well that explains it" many times. This is an exceptionally well shot film. The cinematography was stunning in places such as Montenegro, where Bond would take part in the high-stakes poker game. I found the dialogue was intelligent and engaging, which makes it a cut above the Pierce Brosnan films. The film felt like it ran a little too long at just over two hours. I found myself getting disinterested in parts. That may be attributed to the lack of action this film had in comparison to previous films. I'm not saying that less action is a bad thing, I'm just saying that in this film it could have used more.

I wasn't very impressed with the opening scene. It had Bond chase an explosive-maker through a construction site, accidentally run into an embassy, then blow it up. I don't care that it's unbelievable, it just didn't bring anything new to the table. One thing that is a must for a Bond film is to not take them seriously, or else you'll be pointing out the many flaws throughout the action sequences. Unfortunately these flaws became too apparent for me, which made me lose interest during many scenes. These scenes included: Fighting African's with machetes on a hotel staircase, and Bond being poisoned then using a defibrillator in his car. I like a good laugh, but I couldn't get into it.

For me, the greatest thing about Casino Royale was Vespa. Now she was something else. She was highly entertaining, likable, vulnerable, intelligent and beautiful. I found myself liking her instantly, and grew more and more invested into her character as the film went on. Of course she has a love-affair with Bond, but this was different. It wasn't just sex between them, there was an actual connection. It was evident that this was the girl that Bond first fell in love with. Eva Green is an extremely talented actress who will hopefully have a long and bright career in acting.

I will say this for the film. It is one of the most emotional ones I have ever seen. This is mainly because of the ending, which was beautifully done. The acting was great on all parts, even if there was a stereotypical Bond villain in this film. Casino Royal was just a little too boring, and a little too ridiculous for me to really enjoy it.

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