Movie Review: Casino Royale
Release Date: November 17, 2006
Distributor: Sony Pictures
· Martin Campbell
· Daniel Craig
· Eva Green
· Mads Mikkelsen
· Judi Dench
· Casino Royale Official Site
· IMDb: Casino Royale
by Scott Juba
Published: November 22, 2006
It would be more than an understatement to say that many people questioned the decision to cast Daniel Craig as the new James Bond. Amidst cries for a boycott of the movie by some disgruntled fans and speculation that Craig’s performance could spell doom for Bond, Craig did what no one expected – deliver what is perhaps the best portrayal of Bond to date.
In this installment of the 007 franchise, we learn how Bond became Bond. The film starts with Bond achieving his “00” status and then follows him as he comes into conflict with the sinister villain, Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), banker to the world’s terrorists.
Craig’s cool charisma and suave charm match the demeanor we’ve come to expect from 007, but it’s the lethal edge he brings to Bond that sets his performance apart. Craig conveys a subtle sense of ruthlessness that one would expect a secret agent to have. This killer instinct also establishes Bond as a formidable opponent to a cruel villain like Le Chiffre.
Despite this understated callousness, Craig also manages to give Bond more of a heart than he’s had before. As Bond falls for love interest Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), Bond seems vulnerable and loses his aura of invincibility.
Director Martin Campbell also does his part to bring a grittier, more realistic approach to this Bond film, grounding it more in reality than fantasy. With that said, some of the action sequences are way over the top, and the convenient timing of certain plot events stretches the bounds of plausibility. Yet, every time the filmmakers sacrifice realism, they do it for the sake of adding entertainment value to the viewing experience.
The character of M marks the one low point of “Casino Royale.” She seems to continually oscillate between being overly harsh to Bond or overly concerned about his well-being. This lack of emotional consistency doesn’t portray M as the intelligent, cerebral figure we’ve come to know her to be in past films.
When it comes to the most important elements of the Bond experience, though, the filmmakers get it right. Moreover, rather than killing the franchise, Daniel Craig breathes new life into the stale series and ensures that Bond will continue to be a hero of the silver screen well into this new century.