Casino Royale Reviews
Now - I hate when people say this but here goes - this movie was just too darn long. Don't even TRY to introduce a romance two hours into a film.
To pick up the series and give it a much needed revitalization, Martin Campbell returned to the director's chair, and he decided to go the direction of a reboot, showing the roots of the venerable spy, and how he got his venerable license to kill.
Despite a couple of odd things, like the shock paddles in the car, this is probably the most down to Earth, serious, and realistic entry in the long running series, and that's also one reason why it's one of the best. The other would have to be the focus on a nice balance between stunning action, and legitimate, deep character development and drama.
This film shows Bond at some of the most human and vulnerable he's been in a long time, if not ever. To pull this side of the coin off, we get Daniel Craig in his debut as Bond, and he easily pulls off the dramatic and action oriented sides of the character with ease. He's intense, and a real force to be reckoned with. Eva Green is wonderful as Vesper Lynd. who, despite being the love interest, plays a crucial role to the story, and is one of the better characters in series history.
The plot is wonderful, the script is stellar, and the direction is superb. This is such a great film (in general) that I kind of hate it as a result. There's really nothing wrong here that's not nitpicking. Yeah, maybe some might be a little put off by how serious and dark the film is, but I found it to be just what was needed at the time. Plus, this really works as a satisfactory espionage thriller for contemporary times.
Definitely don't miss this one. It's a real high water mark for the series.
"The Pawn. The Con. The Bond."
Casino Royale eclipsed, in my mind, any James Bond movie ever. That's including the Sean Connery ones. When I think of Bond now, I think of Daniel Craig and this movie. Ditching all the silliness that many of the older Bond movies incorporated; Casino Royale is an absolutely pulse pounding auctioneer from start to finish. It also is a film with a brain to go along with its balls. The chases are spectacular, the camera work is spot on, and the acting is cool. It's a good old fashioned thrill ride and the 144 minute runtime couldn't have felt shorter. That's always a good sign.
Casino Royale is a great introduction to James Bond virgins. We get to see how James Bond got his start, with his first mission. Bond has just been made a secret agent and is put to the test when he is asked to make sure a financier of terrorism doesn't win a high stakes poker game. That synopsis doesn't exactly go into detail, but that's the perfect amount of knowledge to go into the movie with. Let me just tell you, there's a lot more action than just card playing. Bond jumps from buildings, climbs walls; just about anything action related you can think of, he does.
This movie works so well because of a variety of reasons, but most importantly it is Daniel Craig as Bond. He's absolutely perfect. He has the look and the talk of Bond. He looks classy, but also physical. He is athletic, but also has that sense of intelligence. And his screen presence with the ladies is also perfect. All these things are vital when looking at what makes a good 007. Craig has all the traits, just as Connery did.
I'll admit, I was never the biggest Bond fan. I've never been all that thrilled with a Bond movie, and I've seen many of the classics. I was thrilled by this one. Casino Royale is everything a smart, action movie should be. It's thrilling, sexy, and fast. I'm sure there are some huge Bond fans out there that look to one of the Connery movies as the defining film in this long, long franchise. I think I'll always look to this one though. That is unless the Christopher Nolan rumor is true, and he gets to make a Bond film. You know that would be fucking awesome.
James Bond: The name's Bond... James Bond.
All the cast contributed in this new-look film. Eva Green as Vesper was a cool, effective Bond-girl, atypical. Judi Dench as M is a likewise genius move; things have definitely been shaken up. LeChiffre, the criminal mastermind, is sufficiently creepy. The bleeding eye is a great touch. I didn't really like or buy into Giancarlo Giannini as Mathis; I didn't like him in Hannibal either. Also, my only real complaint is that at 144 minutes, it could have been cut to speed it up some.
This film accomplished a rare feat; it presents a different side of James Bond and a return to his roots at the same time.
Saw it again! Excellent movie, it's my favorite Bond movie so far. I'm not a huge Bond fan, but I do enjoy them on a purely popcorn level and this was definitely one of the best in recent memory. The action sequences are brilliantly shot and edited for maximum impact and are some of the best out of any Bond movie. Daniel Craig gives an excellent performance as Bond. It's hard to say whether he's better than any of the other Bonds: Connery and Brosnan felt right for the style of Bond movies they were in. Here, as suits the overall tone of the film, Bond is much more of a sadist, a cold-hearted killer with very little sense of empathy and Craig, with his piercing eyes, suits the role very well. He's charming and funny when required and totally convincing in the action sequences. The violence is less cartoon-like and flippant, too, with every punch, kick and shooting looking like they really hurt. Also, the story is just much more engaging than many a Bond film; the script's not going to win awards but it's consistently inventive and intriguing. Great directing and performances from everyone involved, along with excellent cinematography! Highly Recommended!!!
The movie begins in the city of Prague, Czech Republic, where James Bond has tracked down an MI6 agent, Dryden, who was selling information to enemies for profit. They chat about what it takes to be a Double O agent (one of the requirements is making two kills) and Bond casually tells him his contact died, "Not well." Intercut with the conversation are black and white-filmed scenes of Bond in a men's room, fighting with Dryden's own contact, a man named Fisher. Bond eventually shoves the man's face in an overflowing sink and he falls to the floor, apparently dead.
Dryden taunts Bond, asking him if he felt any remorse or guilt over killing Fisher. Dryden says that Bond "needn't worry, the second is--" at which point Bond shoots Dryden dead. Bond puts his pistol away saying "Yes, considerably." (Though not said explicitly, Bond found the killing of Dryden, his second such kill, "considerably" easier than the first.) In flashback, Fisher recovers from Bond's attempt to drown him and picks up his pistol. The frame instantly shifts to the series' iconic "gun barrel" sequence. Bond spins around shoots the man. Blood runs down the frame, prompting the opening titles.
We next are in Uganda where a terrorist group is meeting with "Le Chiffre" who is a private banker to terrorist groups around the world. The broker for the deal is a Mr. White, taking their money and investing it and manipulating stocks so they get a 100% return on the investment. The terrorists, lead by a man named Obanno, agree to allow the money to be taken for Le Chiffre's nefarious purposes.
In Madagascar, Bond, on his first mission as a "00", is working with another agent, Carter, monitoring a terrorist, Mollaka, who is gambling on a match between a cobra and a mongoose... Bond's inexperienced partner agent is exposed after Mollaka gets a cell call and the terrorist bolts from the scene. Bond chases the man, who is an experienced "free runner" (parkour) who leads Bond through a construction site, onto several sky cranes and finally to the Nambutu embassy where he seeks asylum. Bond charges into the embassy, in direct contravention of international law and his orders, and catches Mollaka. Bond fights his way thru the halls of the embassy and finally finds himself surrounded by armed guards. The ambassador appears and orders Bond to let Mollaka go. Bond shoots the terrorist and a nearby gas tank and escapes in the explosion. He also steals the backpack Mollaka was carrying. Searching through the backpack, he finds a cell phone and a bomb. Bond examines the man's messages briefly and keeps the phone.
Back at MI6, M is furious that 007's violent actions were caught on tape at the Nambutu embassy. Bond later sneaks into M's home and hacks her top-level clearance so he can trace where the cell phone call originated from. When M enters she's startled and lectures him on proper protocol and conduct. She also tells him to go on a brief vacation until she can decide how best to deal with him. Bond had discovered that the call to Mollaka originated in the Bahamas and so Bond goes to their to find out who made the call and why. He ends up finding a middle man, Dmitrios, who was working for Le Chiffre and that he was hired to find someone who could carry out a task for Le Chiffre. Bond meets Dmitrios and plays poker with him, winning his 1964 Aston Martin. Bond uses the Aston to finagle a romantic evening with Dmitrios' spurned wife, Solange, to get information about her husband. She tells Bond that Dmitrios is going to Miami. Bond follows him there where he confronts Dmitrios. after seeing him put a bag away for someone to pick up later. Bond kills Dmitrios when he's held at knifepoint, however, the bag goes missing and Bond follows the man, Carlos, hired for Mollaka's job. Le Chiffre will have Carlos destroy the prototype for a large airline named Skyfleet. The prototype will be the largest aircraft in the world; it's public destruction will bankrupt Skyfleet causing their stock to plummet, an event that Le Chiffre thinks will earn millions. Bond foils the plot and Le Chiffre loses over $100 Million dollars. Now a marked man, Le Chiffre must find another way to earn the money back so his investors will not kill him. He sets up the high stakes match in Montenegro for 10 players with entry fees at $10 Million each + a $5 Million buy back should they lose all their money.
M is taking 007 through a crime scene where Solange was found dead. M informs Bond of the poker game and agrees to let Bond continue the mission since he's the best poker player in the service. M also implants a homing device on 007 so she can track him anywhere. The British Government will be putting up the money and we are introduced to Vesper Lynd who is the government agent who is going to monitor Bond and give a go, no-go should he lose the money. They talk on the train about each other, Vesper commenting on his cold nature and Bond remarking on how Vesper is retentive. Upon arriving they are to pose as a married couple and meet Rene Mathis, their contact in Montenegro. Each poker player has their money in a Swiss bank in escrow while they play and each one has a password to keep the money secured. Vesper has the account number but only 007 knows the password. On the first hand, 007 loses a chunk of cash to figure out how Le Chiffre bluffs (his physical "tell" involves him placing his left hand near his wounded eye), however Vesper is not at all amused. After a lengthy round of hands, a break is called. Bond places a tracking device in Le Chiffre's asthma inhaler and takes Vesper back to their room. Le Chiffre goes back to his room only to be confronted by Obanna and his henchman, demanding his money back. They threaten to cut off one of Le Chiffre's girlfriend's, Valenka's, arms, however, Le Chiffre doesn't acquiesce. Out in the hallway, Bond hears Valenka screaming. He quickly grabs Vesper and forces her to kiss him in the stairway entrance, however Obanna notices Bond's earpiece and attacks them both. The fight takes them down the stairwell to the bottom floor where Bond kills Obanna and his henchman. Bond sharply orders Vesper to contact Mathis, who sets up a man to take the fall for the dead bodies by placing them in the man's car trunk.
The next day, during the continuing poker game, Bond loses all his money to Le Chiffre after misreading a bluff and admits to Vesper that he made a mistake. Vesper won't give him the buy back money saying he's going to lose it. Furious, 007 goes after Le Chiffre but is stopped by one of the other poker players, Felix Leiter, sent by the CIA to the poker match to catch Le Chiffre. Leiter tells 007 that he's doing poorly himself in the game and that he'll back Bond to re-enter the game; Leiter believes that Bond can beat Le Chiffre. In return, Bond will give Le Chiffre to the CIA. Bond slowly builds his bank again and once again becomes a threat to Le Chiffre. Le Chiffre has Valenka poinson Bond's martini with digitalis, causing Bond to suffer severe tachycardia. Bond goes to his car distressed and, communicating with medical specialists at MI6 headquarters, is about to use the defibrillator when he sees the the connection isn't plugged in and passes out. Vesper arrives, fixes the defib kit and shocks him back to life. Bond, shaken, returns to the game. The final hand of the game is down to four players, including Bond and Le Chiffre, who go "all in", betting their remaining money, driving the "pot" well over $150 million. Two are eliminated when their hands are called, leaving Le Chiffre and Bond. Le Chiffre reveals a straight flush. Bond reveals he has a higher straight flush and wins the game.
Bond has dinner with Vesper, who receives a call from Mathis stating that Le Chiffre has been apprehended by the CIA. Vesper leaves the dining room; seconds later, Bond realizes she's in danger. Vesper is kidnapped by Le Chiffre. Bond races after them in his Aston Martin, but has to swerve violently when he sees Vesper lying bound in the road. The car rolls several times, destroying it and injuring Bond, rendering him unconscious. Le Chiffre and his cronies take him, remove his homing implant and take him and Vesper to a nearby tramp steamer. Bond is stripped and bound to a chair with the seat removed, leaving his testicles exposed. Le Chiffre uses a large knotted rope, striking Bond's scrotum, demanding the password for the account the winnings have been secured in. Bond refuses, despite Le Chiffre's threats to kill him and Vesper. Le Chiffre finally draws a knife and is about to castrate Bond when gunshots are heard outside. The door opens and Mr. White, broker from the first scene with Obanna, walks in. Le Chiffre pleads with him, saying he'll secure the money, to which White replies, "Money isn't as important to our organization as knowing who to trust." White shoots Le Chiffre in the forehead, killing him.
Bond wakes up in a hospital bed during a haze while he recovers. He talks to Mathis, whom he believes was responsible for his and Vesper's capture by Le Chiffre. MI6 agents appear, taze Mathis and drag him away.
Vesper visits Bond and they confess their love for each other. The Swiss banker in charge of the winnings account visits and Bond gives Vesper the password to key in; the password is her own first name. Bond resigns from the service to go away with Vesper, and they sail to Venice, Italy where Vesper says she'll get the money and Bond will get the supplies for the trip. When M phones 007 about his resignation, she says that they need to talk about the money being returned to the British government first, which tips off 007 that Vesper was using him all along. 007 follows Vesper to a secret meeting where she turns the money over, in cash, to a man named Gettler. Gettler and a few of his men retreat to a building being renovated and a gunfight ensues. Bond shoots and ruptures the flotation bags that hold the building above water-level and fights with them all, killing them. He tries to save Vesper, locked in an old elevator, but is unable to after she commits suicide by drowning herself. Bond recovers her body and takes her above water but is unable to revive her. Mr. White, who'd been watching the scene, is seen leaving with the suitcase full of money.
Sitting on the sailboat he and Vesper had been vacationing on, Bond talks to M, who informs him that Vesper had a boyfriend who was being held by Le Chiffre's organization. She had intended to pay off Le Chiffre's associates with the money to secure her boyfriend's release. M believes that there are no further leads, that the "trail has gone cold." Bond examines Vesper's cell phone and finds the phone number of Mr. White. At Lake Como in Northern Italy, White arrives at a palatial estate. After he exits his car, he receives a phone call from someone telling him they "need to talk." Asking who the caller is, White is suddenly shot in the leg by a sniper. He falls to the ground and crawls toward the house. As he tries to climb the stairs and the familiar Bond theme begins to play, Bond appears carrying a cell phone and an HK rifle. As White looks up defiantly, Bond says "The name's Bond. James Bond." The closing titles roll immediately.