Casino Royale : the best 007 I have seen in quite a while

I will say this out straight – I much prefer Daniel Craig to Pierce Brosnan or Roger Moore as James Bond. Craig delivers a very convincing performance as James Bond in his early days as a licensed to kill secret service agent, subtly revealing Bond’s egotistical character and his lack of finesse (in his first mission as 007).

Casino Royale was the first Bond novel Ian Fleming wrote. Director Martin Campbell has chosen to set this film not in the cold war past. The plot basically follows Bond as he locates and tries to corner an investment banker who serves the terrorists of the world. Nothing special in terms of plot then. What does distinguish this latest 007 movie from its predecessors is it LACK of bombastic action scenes – there are no hi-tech gadgets, Q does not appear, and the “climax” of the film is a game of poker instead of a massive explosive stunt. Martin Campbell instead focuses on developing Bond as a character. The film highlights how Bond changes from being a somewhat naive spy still prone to trusting people to becoming an extremely suave and detached agent. Casino Royale is thus the most emotionally charged Bond movie ever and an origin of 007 story.

I also felt the supporting cast did a fine job. Eva Green might not be the biggest star in Hollywood, but she is one of the most stunning Bond girls of recent years. Danish star Mads Mikkelsen stars as the villain Le Chiffre, a man who sheds blood instead of tears. Mikkelsen is apparently very well known in his home and I have previously seen him as the drug dealer Tonny in the Pusher Trilogy.

Verdict : highly recommended. I am looking forward to Craig’s next outing as 007.