MGM gets back to basics with the twenty-first installment in the James Bond film series, Casino Royale, based on the Ian Fleming novel of the same name. Series standards like worldwide filming locations (Czech Republic, Bahamas, Italy, England) and inventive beginning sequence (sans nude girl silhouettes) remain intact as the series reboots back to Bond’s origins. The filmmakers, producers, and casting directors pull out all the stops with talented choices to remediate Agent 007 yet again.
Martin Campbell, who also directed Pierce Brosnan in his first James Bond film, Goldeneye, takes the filmmaking helm as a great international cast creates yet another espionage-filled adventure.
The black and white beginning and iconic shot of Bond looking in a mirror while wearing his tuxedo demonstrate Campbell’s familiarity and newfound flair. The entire film has a great new visual style complete with veteran British cinematographer Phil Meheux (who also worked with Campbell on Goldeneye). Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby) co-wrote the solid screenplay with previous Bond film writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, which sustains a 144 minute screen time (the longest ever for a James Bond film).
Bond’s talents and character traits originate during his first assignment involving terrorists and, as the title suggests, a high stakes casino game. Daniel Craig (Road to Perdition, Munich, Layer Cake) debuts as the famous British spy. His formidable acting talents elevate the film as 007 conquers all situations with confidence (or, depending on your perspective, ego).
In the Bahamas, Bond encounters Dimitrios, played by French actor Simon Abkarian and his girlfriend, Solange, played by Catalina Moreno. “I’m not that girl,” Solange tells Bond as she mildly dismisses his advances. “Maybe you’re just out of practice,” he replies.
Bond also teams up with female treasury agent Vesper Lynd, played by 26-year-old Eva Green. It’s very interesting to see how Vesper shapes James’ view toward women as “meaningful pursuits” then “disposable pleasures.”