James Bond Reviews: #1: Casino Royale (2006)

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     For about 20 years, people have always asked me why I love the character of James Bond so much; the answer was never satisfactory to them. I always said that he was a flawed man who went through much heartbreak, and tragedy in his life. Except for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the films never helped in this argument. This was because I read the books, in particular the first novel Casino Royale. Now, after the producers were finally able to get the rights, I can finally show people this movie, and demonstrate why I love Bond so much.
     James Bond (Daniel Craig) has just recently become a 00 agent, and is sent to Casino Royale in Montenegro to take down terrorist financier Le Chiffre (Mads Milkkenson) in a high stakes poker game. There he meets his contract Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) and René Mathis (Ginncarlo Giannini), and they help 007 to get the upper hand on Le Chiffre.
     It may not seem that there’s a lot of plot to the movie, but there is. Actually, what I summed up what the plot of the book, which is the second act of the movie. The rest I’ll leave as a surprise for you. What seems to happen every so often is that the Bond films get outlandish after awhile, and they need to bring it down to basics. It doesn’t get much more basic than Bond at the beginning of his career. Yes, you get to see Bond become a 00 agent, and it didn’t take a trilogy to do it.
     The crucial element to the whole origin tale is Daniel Craig himself. The script presents a more human, flawed, rough Bond who isn’t assured in his actions. Craig shows the vulnerability in the character, the pain in his eyes, and the absolute believability that James Bond, yes James fucking Bond, can fall in love. Vesper is the rare Bond Girl were you believe that’s possible with her confidence, independence, and low tolerance for Bond’s bullshit. This was the first Bond movie that I’ve shown friends that actually see him as a person, and they’re afraid of what will happen to him, that alone separates this installment from the others.
     Before I would recommend interested people to check out a Sean Connery Bond film (mainly Goldfinger) to see if they like series enough to get invested as having over 20 films can be daunting for someone to handle. I now point to this movie, it sums up everything I cherish in the character. It took the difficult feat of turning an icon, into a living, breathing character that you worried and, more importantly, care about.

That does it for this list. Thank you to everyone one who joined me on this journey, and stuck with me to the end. Spectre will be reviewed soon, my appreciation holds no bounds.

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