2008 Certificate: 12


Daniel Craig clinically completes his reinvention of the suave superspy in his second outing as James Bond. Following on directly from Casino Royale, he's out to avenge the death of Vesper Lynd... which means getting in the way of the chilling environmental terrorist Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) and his plans to trigger a coup d'etat in Bolivia. Monster's Ball director Marc Forster brings a dramatic flourish to 007 while the Bourne team ensure the action will have you working up a sweat. Mr Bond, you're looking good.


  • Marc Forster


  • Daniel Craig

  • Mathieu Amalric

  • Olga Kurylenko

  • Gemma Arterton

  • Judi Dench


The chips are down following Daniel Craig's radical reinvention of British superspy 007 in the back-to-basics Casino Royale. The question is: what do we do now?

Well, what they've done is provide the first direct Bond sequel, a taut, lean thriller which manages to shave a good half hour off the running time of the celebrated 2006 comeback.

Director Marc Forster, who made his name with Monster's Ball and Finding Neverland, provides richer characterisation: we're beginning to see what makes Bond tick so violently - and also manages to make implausible scenarios starkly realistic. Without a gadget in sight.

It helps that he's got the team behind the last two Jason Bourne movies to provide the action - there's double the destruction wrought in Casino Royale, kicking off with a sublime pre-credit car chase alongside Lake Garda with Bond's Aston minus the driver's door.

Seeking the faceless killer behind the death of Vesper Lynd, 007 discovers he can trust no-one - not even MI6 or the CIA - and is left to pursue a solitary trail from Italy to London to Haiti, where he first meets his nemesis Dominic Greene (Amalric).

Firmly dodging the villainous Bond stereotype, the devious Greene does not have a bleeding eye, pincers for hands or a third nipple. He's French. And like the rapacious Gallic utility companies, he's got his eye on everybody's water supply.

Taking the fizz out of his Perrier is Camille (Kurylenko), an unlikely ally for Bond who intends to use her connection with Greene to get to exiled Bolivian general Medrano (Joaquin Cosio), the man behind the brutal death of her family.

Forster's vision marks a move back towards the world domination scenarios of Blofeld with the sinister Quantum organisation replacing the rather camp SPECTRE and its predeliction for pussy-stroking megalomaniacs.

He also wryly acknowledges Bond's past: there's a, erm, "crude" reference to the classic death scene in Goldfinger, the flame-grilled grand finale is splendidly indebted to the sublime Ken Adam sets of the 1960s and opera fans will appreciate the contemporary take on Tosca sublimely weaved into a shoot-out. Roger Moore never did that.

Yet this is a Bond firmly of the moment. Whiplash editing, a sharp script (again courtesy of Paul "Crash" Haggis) and a careful expansion of what made Casino Royale such a winning hand means that 007 is in as good as shape as he was back in 1964.

There are caveats. A second viewing is required to flesh out every nuance and - for all his bruising stuntwork - Craig is less Steve McQueen in The Great Escape and more Postman Pat heading for Greendale when it comes to motorcycles.

But no matter. As M (Dench) puts it, if you want to see an anti-hero "so blinded by inconsolable rage that you don't care who you hurt" then Craig's ice-cool Bond is the guy to leave you shaken and stirred.