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
moves confidently ahead, capturing the spirit and essence and, in
places, the details of the 1953 book. The credit "based on
a novel by Ian
Fleming" 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
framed in Martin Campbell's bold and satisfying direction. This
is good film
-making first and an extraordinary Bond film second. Craig
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
us back to the tarnished knight of novels.
Mad Mikkelson is sinister, original and malevolent as Le
silhouetted cypher. He is interestingly and dynamically rendered in a
performance that shades Fleming's creation with added
Caterina Murino's Fleming-named Solange is sexy and
sultry and could have
been a character from Quantum of Solace or The Hilderbrand
really does hold the eye and her scenes with Bond sizzle. She
integral to the function and spirit of the story and is played with
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
exactly right for this story and her admonishing of Bond crackles with
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
development. Saul Bass-esque graphic artistry combines with Binder-esque
motion poetry in Daniel Kleinman's CG animated titles. Playing
gambling imagery also incorporates a live action Daniel Craig.
instrumental version of the song provides a driving, energetic action
Denied of the full James Bond theme until the end (although we
delicious truffle-shavings of it), You Know My Name binds the
film like John
Barry's 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
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
atmospherically sinister, the film touches on elements of classic but
recently unused filmBond. The travelogue is non-specific but
stunning especially the recreation of Montenegro. Phil
photography is glorious and colourful and rich and romantic.
different from most of the recent Bonds, the 21st Eon
film flies through the
series' longest ever running time. Stuart Baird's editing is
in the action sequences yet paces the film carefully through the poker
and romantic subplot. Time is given to characters to talk, to love and
live. Gary Powell has made the combat very brutal and realistic
original. The visceral action setpieces are extremely exciting and,
all, original: the Madgascan freerunning sequence is breathtaking.
The toying with the Bond film formula is playful yet respectful
placement of the gunbarrel, the name-reveal, the use of the James
theme, outrageous femme fatale names ("Stephanie
Broadchest"!), the use of
gadgetry and the symbolic invocation of the vodka martini (the
Martin (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
ore of Fleming. Daniel Craig is laced with a soupçon of
though with the stronger charm and wit of a superior script). However,
Daniel Craig is very much his own, believable, instantly
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
© Ajay Chowdhury, 2006. All