Casino-Royale-DI
2006 Running time: 139 Certificate: 12 Rating: 4
Casino-Royale-KA

Synopsis

Daniel Craig annihilates the naysayers with a performance of power and poise as the latest incarnation of 007. Going back to basics, Bond has just earned his licence to kill before he comes up against Mads Mikkelsen's terrorist financier Le Chiffre across the gaming tables. The Aston Martins, compliant girls and vodka-martinis are all present and politically incorrect... but it's Craig's cunning brute of a Bond that gets the world's most successful movie franchise back on track.

Director

  • Martin Campbell

Cast

  • Daniel Craig

  • Mads Mikkelsen

  • Eva Green

  • Judi Dench

  • Jeffrey Wright

Review

During a parlour game based around the opening sequence of The Spy Who Loved Me, a despairing Alan Partridge berated his guests for "getting Bond wrong".

Many long-suffering fans of the series would concur with the Norwich DJ that makers of the world's most successful movie franchise have being "getting Bond wrong" for years.

From the cheap response to Star Wars that was Moonraker to the final ignominy - the invisible Aston Martin - that rendered Die Another Day a laughing stock, it seemed an act of kindness to revoke the licence to kill.

Four years on from that lumbering oaf of a movie comes a newly-minted 007 in the buffed form of Daniel Craig, a rarity in the role - a Bond who can actually act.

In a world where Paul Greengrass's superb brace of Bournes made the recent superspy outings seem like bloated dinosaurs trapped in the Cold War, Craig was to have his work cut out.

It didn't help that the producers called on Martin Campbell to direct - an able enough action-meister (GoldenEye was a promising Bond debut for Pierce Brosnan) but one sorely lacking skills when it comes to drawing out the emotional grit so essential to the character.

Thankfully, Craig - taking Bond right back to the halcyon days of Sean Connery - seizes the mantle just seconds into the movie as he despatched a double-agent with a cold efficiency followed by a sardonic quip. We're back in business!

The chief adversary here is Le Chiffre (Mikkelsen), a global banker to the world's terrorists who boasts a Hitler-lick of hair and a tear duct that weeps blood.

Facing Bond over the baize in Montenegro's Casino Royale, the stakes in the pair's game of Texas Hold 'Em are far higher away from the tables.

Providing Bond's love interest is Eva Green who plays Vesper Lynd, a treasury accountant whose attraction to 007 is based on prickly mutual admiration.

(The scene where they size one another up on a train is more erotically charged than all of safari-suited Roger Moore's bimbo tumbles put together).

Stripped of gadgets, the film is also gently mocking of its cliched past: When a barman asks Bond if he wants his vodka-martini shaken or stirred, Craig icily replies: "Do I look like I give a damn?"

The film may have its faults. It's too long at 144 minutes and the narrative sags in the middle. However, it bode well for the future thanks to Craig's refreshing reinvention of the role.

And not an invisible Aston Martin in, erm, sight.