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Written by: Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and Paul Haggis (screenplay), Ian Fleming (novel)
Directed by: Martin campbell
With: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Mads Mikkelsen, Tobias Menzies
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After obtaining 00 status and a license to kill, secret agent James Bond sets out on his first assignment as 007. Bond must defeat a private banker financing terrorists in a high stakes poker game at Casino Royale, Montenegro. .
It plays a lot the James Bond is cool card and Bond is really cool. It’s not all about the action, something that happened to Craig’s films later. It has a bit of everything and some of the best scenes focus on little moments during the card game. It’s all about Bond, but it’s also the only reboot of a new era, nodding and knocking down various Bond tropes. There are more than a few twists and turns with a script that brings it all together. It’s easily my favorite Bond movie.
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My first James Bond movie was Pierce Brosnan’s Golden eye. I saw the successive films, but when I saw for the first time Casino Royale, it was the first Bond movie I saw that was really good. I didn’t like Craig’s latest movies because they’re too much of an action blockbuster with less substance. I went back and watched some of Connery’s movies, but they didn’t catch me.
|Daniel Craig plays James Bond|
I really like the black and white introduction where James Bond (Daniel Craig) gets his 00 status. This film noir-influenced introduction is found in the animated credits.
The first action scene is full parkour, filling in the action aspect and adding to the tone of this film. It was a very different movie than Brosnan’s as Bond. Bond has always been too cool. He can’t lose, and in a movie like this that’s okay. Lots of action sets a fast pace and makes things exciting. There is a very sober knife fight in the middle of a crowd where no one realizes what is going on. While this movie is great, he also knows when to shoot it.
|Eva Green and Daniel Craig play Vesper Lynd and James Bond|
While Bond’s reputation as a womanizer, which is on display in this film, he has a counterpart in Vesper Lynd (Eva Green). She doesn’t fall in love with him immediately as it usually seems. She finances it for the heart of the film, a game of poker against Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen). The plan seems wild. They are going to bet on the bankruptcy of a terrorist. Is this ridiculous? Sure, but it’s a lot of fun.
Although there is a full table and it is a buy-in of ten million dollars, it is a game played by Bond and Le Chiffre. Of course, Bond is the best poker player in MI6, and of course they’re them at the end of every game. Bond films are always a bit of a fantasy. I don’t blame him because it’s part of the draw. Few movies can show a character who loses everything, almost dying, then returns to the game with a sardonic response and seems reasonable. Come to think of it, the sequence looks ridiculous, but in the context of this movie, it works.
|Daniel Craig and Mads Mikkelsen play James Bond and Le Chiffre|
This allows for a lot of mileage with a simple card reveal. This movie knows how to be intense without thinking that explosions are the only way to do it. Bond wins, but it’s not thanks to any real skill. Winning the card game isn’t the end of the movie.
There’s a torture scene that was wild the first time I saw this movie and still doesn’t have a lot of rivals. The craziest thing was, Bond was just inches away from being finished. He is saved by a combination of a two ex machina and Chekhov’s pistol. This is not the end of the film either. We get one more streak that complements this Leap’s character, reinforcing the fact that he won’t trust anyone anymore. This is a sequence in Italy, but it should be noted that the houses in Venice do not float, they are built on foundations embedded in the swamp.
James Bond is a pop culture icon. He’s a man, a ladies’ man and a secret agent. The movie plays into this concept that Bond is too cool to die, and in this case, that makes the movie a lot of fun.