Casino Royale (2006) – movie review

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Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright
Director: Martin Campbell

There has been so much expectation and criticism of equal measures regarding the casting of Daniel Craig in the role of James Bond. From his blond hair to his general looks, so called fans were always going to sharpen their knives out and not give Craig a chance to prove himself. Craig has about 144 minutes to convince his doubters that he is the next Bond and the result does surprise.

CASINO ROYALE begins with James Bond (Daniel Craig) getting his “00” status with two professional assassinations. As 007, Bond’s first mission is to track down a terrorist called Mollaka (Sebastien Foucan) in Madagascar. The plan is to take Mollaka in for questioning but he tries to get away from Bond by escaping to an embassy. Bond follows him and obtains the information he requires to track down the rest of the terrorist cell. From there, Bond heads to the Bahamas, without authorisation from MI6.

Bond tracks Alex Dimitrios (Simon Abkarian), another member of the terrorist cell and befriends his girlfriend, Solange (Caterina Murino) who informs Bond that Dimitrios is flying to Miami. Bond follows him and manages to foil an attempt to destroy a prototype Airbus that is being unveiled at the airport. Upon returning to the Bahamas, Bond finds a displeased M (Judi Dench) waiting for him. Bond informs M that Dikmitrios is involved with Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) who apparently has lost a lot of money belonging to an African terrorist cell.

Le Chiffre plans to recover the lost money by holding a high stakes poker game in Montenegro. MI6 sends Bond to sit in on the game, as he is the best poker player within MI6. M sends along Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), an MI6 accountant to make sure that Bond does not run rampant with the agency’s funds. Bond finds Lynd is as much of a match for his cold exterior but will she warm up to him and just how good is Bond at poker? If he loses, he will have contributed funds to terrorists.

It would be fair to say that what CASINO ROYALE does for Bond is similar to what BATMAN BEGINS did for the Batman series. This realistic Bond does get hurt, bleeds and needs a change of clothes after every action scene. It would take more than the straightening up of his bow tie to convince us otherwise. Daniel Craig puts a lot more into the action sequences than all of the previous Bond’s incarnations. Emotionally, this Bond has more in common to Bond in ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE and this works as it is shows us the genesis of Bond’s character, as we know it. Craig plays Bond more as an ex-SAS guy who is a hired assassin and spy for the government. Have you ever asked yourself how Bond will survive so many missions? Going by what is on screen, Bond thinks on his feet and more so when he is in a tight spot. The action sequences will have you sitting on the edge of your seat and so will a torture scene that proves that Bond can be a little bit masochistic. Bond’s icy blue eyes will either melt women’s hearts one moment or end a villain’s life the next. Anyone who can switch like that has a lot going on mentally, more than they would like to admit. Is CASINO ROYALE edgy? Yes. Exciting? Yes. Should you go to see this version of Bond? Yes because if you do not, you will be one of the few that have missed a great movie. Welcome back, Mr Bond.

5 out of 6 stars