Bondpix James Bond


An initial opinion of 'CASINO ROYALE'

by Ajay Chowdhury, editor Kiss Kiss Bang Bang magazine.
The new publication of the James Bond International Fan Club

Casino Royale is an instant classic with a clean, clear linear plot that
moves confidently ahead, capturing the spirit and essence and, in surprising
places, the details of the 1953 book. The credit "based on a novel by Ian
" in the title sequence is miraculously both present and true in a
Bond film made in 2006.

Daniel Craig is immediately James Bond as we have all known him and as we
have never known him before. This is Fleming's Bond brought to life but the
jewel of this performance is set magnificently in an exquisite script and
framed in Martin Campbell's bold and satisfying direction. This is good film
-making first and an extraordinary Bond film second. Craig is intense,
naturalistic and fierce but also tender, vulnerable and haunted. A man
emboldened and burdened by his licence to kill.

Eva Green is stunning as Vesper Lynd. Edgy, elegant, intelligent yet guarded
and mysterious. Her romance with Bond is the core of the movie which takes
us back to the tarnished knight of novels.

Mad Mikkelson is sinister, original and malevolent as Le Chiffre, a
silhouetted cypher. He is interestingly and dynamically rendered in a
performance that shades Fleming's creation with added complexity.

Caterina Murino's Fleming-named Solange is sexy and sultry and could have
been a character from Quantum of Solace or The Hilderbrand Rarity. She
really does hold the eye and her scenes with Bond sizzle. She is also
integral to the function and spirit of the story and is played with arch
aplomb by the Sardinian beauty.

Judi Dench's M is teasingly developed both in her relationship with Bond and
her placement in the British Government. Continuity aside, her inclusion is
exactly right for this story and her admonishing of Bond crackles with good
writing and topical knowingness. M contextualizes 007's character and sets
up the story and the stakes in an expositionally creative way. Jeffrey
Wright's Felix Leiter
is a subtle but pivotal presence while Giancarlo
Giannini's Rene Mathis
is a more prominent, ebullient performance.

The theme song and titles are similarly different from the past and a
development. Saul Bass-esque graphic artistry combines with Binder-esque
motion poetry in Daniel Kleinman's CG animated titles. Playing card and
gambling imagery also incorporates a live action Daniel Craig. The
instrumental version of the song provides a driving, energetic action theme.
Denied of the full James Bond theme until the end (although we are given
delicious truffle-shavings of it), You Know My Name binds the film like John
alternate "007" theme. David Arnold's score both simmers and soars
and is an achievement of reinvention. Both the song and the score both
performance of Daniel Craig: an updated classic. Rather like the silver
beast that is brand new purring Aston Martin DBS.

Martin Campbell's style is different from GoldenEye in all but the pure
energy and exuberance of his direction. Visually intriguing (a
cobra-mongoose fight, a trail through the bizarre Bodyworld exhibit) and
atmospherically sinister, the film touches on elements of classic but
recently unused filmBond. The travelogue is non-specific but visually
stunning especially the recreation of Montenegro. Phil Meheux's sweeping
photography is glorious and colourful and rich and romantic. Structurally
different from most of the recent Bonds, the 21st Eon film flies through the
series' longest ever running time. Stuart Baird's editing is uncompromising
in the action sequences yet paces the film carefully through the poker duel
and romantic subplot. Time is given to characters to talk, to love and to
live. Gary Powell has made the combat very brutal and realistic and
original. The visceral action setpieces are extremely exciting and, above
all, original: the Madgascan freerunning sequence is breathtaking.

The toying with the Bond film formula is playful yet respectful from the
placement of the gunbarrel, the name-reveal, the use of the James Bond
, outrageous femme fatale names ("Stephanie Broadchest"!), the use of
gadgetry and the symbolic invocation of the vodka martini (the Medal), Aston
(the chariot), MI6 hierarchy (the Order) and M (the Monarch). The
reboot really is tangential to the story.

Casino Royale is like the fourth James Bond film, after Dr No, From Russia
With Love
and Goldfinger. Before the lava of creativity cooled to the crust
of formula, Bond films sat as individual pieces, extracting and refining the
ore of Fleming. Daniel Craig is laced with a soupçon of Dalton (richer
though with the stronger charm and wit of a superior script). However,
Daniel Craig is very much his own, believable, instantly winning incarnation
of James Bond 007.

Casino Royale is mature, pure, surefire cinematic entertainment. It should
be savoured like the the gourmet Bond film that we have all hungered for

Ajay Chowdhury, 2006. All rights reserved.


This website is best viewed at a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 at 32 bpp

All content is © David Williams unless stated otherwise. No parts may be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved.