Enough Politics! Casino Royale, the 21st Bond film, goes back to the “start”, the story of how Bond became Bond.
Only… it’s not. It’s full of little cues to all those standard Bond quirks. The ignore-what-happened-last-time persists, as in all Bond flicks, but Bond’s never gone backwards, as it were. For cryin’ out loud, Q (or his ertswhile replacement John Cleese) is missing! The whole atmosphere feels like it could be, should be, set against the cloak-and-dagger of the Cold War – but it’s the international terrorist financing that provides the bad guy (don’t worry, this isn’t anything spoilerish).
But that’s only the first 10 minutes. Slowly you come to realise this is a paced Bond, a movie where drama takes more of a role in moving the plot along than pure action. It’s almost as if, for once, the scriptwriters got the upper hand on the special effects and stunts guys. They deliver quite well too – some good dialogue, and sharp wit to match. There’s occasional glitch-in-the-Matrix moments when you think something ended up on the cutting room floor that probably shouldn’t have, but it’s easily glossed over.
Daniel Craig even does well filling the shoes of Pierce Brosnan. Craig isn’t as suave or stylish as Brosnan, but he’s got the look (or gets it eventually), and it’s hard to imagine Brosnan filling the demands of Bond’s character in this movie quite so well – Bond does get his hands dirty in this one, and that’s not Bond’s established style. Fitting then that Craig as the newcomer can pin the role so well. Caterina Murino as Solange has but a bit-part, which was disappointing. However, Eva Green as Vesper Lynd does exceptionally well. This is most likely due to the fact that she actually has lines to deliver and a role to play, rather than just being the usual Bond girl.
Overall, ★★★★☆. Excellent movie, well worth your money and time, even if occasional pacing issues do crop up. No big car chase or the usual array of Bond gadgets, but the drama easily pulls it off anyway. Best Bond since Goldeneye.