Paul Cook 25/11/2006
The 1st book. The 21st film. The 6th Bond. Casino Royale has been a focal point of Hollywood attention since it was announced that the next Bond film would be Ian Fleming's very first novel. The dominant debate which has somewhat overshadowed the rest of the film has been the choice of Daniel Craig to play 007 himself. Amongst all the controversy and hype, director Martin Campbell and co. along with the first blonde-Bond have created a delectable concoction of adrenaline-pumped action, an engaging and enigmatic storyline, literally record-braking stunts and suave, quick-witted performances from both hero and villain. Is this concoction shaken or stirred I hear you ask? Does Bond look like he gives a damn?
It is no exaggeration in the Bond franchise to say that any new film was going to rely almost entirely upon the lead actor. No pressure then Daniel. The trivial differences between Craig and his predecessors such as hair colour have distracted attention away from how good of an actor Daniel Craig really is, and in Casino Royale he doesn't disappoint. He has managed to deliver the darkest and most engaging performance as Bond for at least a decade. Pierce Brosnan set a high benchmark with Goldeneye but since then the Brosnan-Bond films have lacked both ingenuity and believability. The cast is a breath of fresh air for the franchise with Mads Mikkelsen representing a more modern yet archetypal villain in the form of Le Chiffre and Judi Dench as 'M' in typically faultless form.
Casino Royale has moments of brilliance and debonair espionage unsurpassed at times by any of its forefathers. It is a film of stunning cinematography which compels and stimulates the audience's senses. Martin Campbell's last Bond film was Goldeneye so it seems he has a knack for creating mesmerising 'new Bond films.' This film will have you gasping in excitement, shock and pain, sometimes all at once and the quick one-liners from Craig in particular entertain throughout. Casino Royale is a truly worthy and substantial piece of work to add to a classic collection of British films. The new image of Bond is here and hopefully it is here to stay.