Natalya Simonova: How can you be so cold?
James Bond: It’s what keeps me alive.
Natalya Simonova: No. It’s what keeps you alone.
That dialogue from GoldenEye aptly states what Bond is! A Cold and ruthless spy with a licence to kill! And Casino Royale shows why he is so….
I finally got to see Casino Royale, after the two-week ban effected by the distributors on the english version had elapsed. And in one word, it is Good! Two things though, if one is a die-hard fan of the Bond Movies, they may not like this one! And if one is a keen follower of the Books, then they’ll definitely dig this one! I am neither of the above but still I’d say that this was one of the better Bond movies.
Anyone would think that it would be hard keeping up the Bond tradition specially following up after actors like Connery, Moore and Brosnan. More so Brosnan since the last four movies were fresh in movie-goers’ memory. Does the new Bond -Daniel Craig – matches upto the task? IMO, he sure does. One of the things in his advantage is that the move sketches the ‘Starting’ of Bond as 007 and thus is not technically ‘following’ DAD!
Storywise, Casino Royale is kinda short but ably stretched into a 2 Hr long movie where Bond – the person is given more prominence than Bond – the spy. There’s not much of a story to tell….just that after two killings Bond is promoted to 007 status and is on the trail of Terrorist Banker Le Chiffre and must stop him from winning a multi-billion game of poker at Casino Royale.
Performance-wise, Daniel Craig delivers promisingly as the Novice-spy at the beginning, slowly maturing as he goes along his job and finally attaining the ‘Cold’ streak that a Double-Oh ought to have. I could not help remembering the dialogue “How can you be so Cold? – Itz what keeps me alive” from GoldenEye and Casino Royale’s climax sure stands as a precursor of that! Craig also displays some cockiness and over-confidence in himself- something which is referred to as the bloated-Ego- and nearly ends up bein Dead! In the second-half of the movie, Bond falls in love and tenders his resignation only to be separated by fate! Craig also manages to mock at Bond’s favorite drink when, on a question from a waiter whether he would like his Vodka martini shaken or stirred, replies “Does it look like I care a damn!”
This movie has next-to-nil gadgets and Q is completely absent…and so is Moneypenny. That sure comes as a shock to the gadget-loving fans but in wake of criticism that the disappearing-car has ahd in Die Another Day, maybe thatz a good idea! There are only one-and-a-half heroines and Eva Green is lacklustre as Vesper Lynd! There are two scenes full of dialogues between them (one on a train and another at dinner) wherein they say much more than they actually do. It also has considerably less action! I can count three scenarios – a breathtaking edge-of-the-seat chase at the start, a crunching car-chase in the middle and the climax shootout – and none of them are as elaborate as in earlier Bond movies. Evidently, the game occupies much of the latter-half but owing to my lack of knowhow on Texas hold’em Up, I coulnd’t fathom much of it. Mads Mikkelsen as the glass-eyed villian banker Le Chiffre is OK and in the torture scene with Bond is in his element. And also takes a snide dig at earlier movies with a curt “I never understood all these elaborate tortures. Its the simplest thing to cause more pain than a man can enjoy” !!!
All in all, I guess this movie portrays Bond as Ian Fleming wanted him to be and not as a gadget-toting innuendo-laden Spy that we had come to see in the past. And that can only be good for the Bond Franchise.
Rating: **** out of 5