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Casino Royale

James Bond Returns To The Big Screen...And He's Got A Flush 

Year: 2006 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Martin Campbell 
Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Eva Green and Mads Mikkelsen.  
An image from Casino Royale
Review:

In its twenty-first outing Bond is back to basics. No gadgets, no irreverent quips, no invisible cars… just a man with a gun and a girl against a world of corrupt, high-power fiends with facial scars and elaborate plots. And it’s bloody brilliant!

Fresh from a gritty confrontation where he earns his double-O status, Bond (Craig) jets all over the world to keep track of deceitful banker Le Chiffre (Mikkelson), with a characteristically flagrant disregard for proper procedure much to the disapproval of superior M (Dench).

Having lost all of his clients’ money in a fruitless venture, Le Chiffre organises a high-stakes poker game at the Casino Royale hoping to win his way back into the black and save his skin. Accompanied by hot-and-cold treasury agent Vesper Lynd (Green), MI6 enter Bond into the competition with hopes of beating the Frenchman at his own game, in order to twist his arm for information. And so commences a battle of male ego in various suits.

Learning some lessons from the “Bourne” thriller series, this reinvented franchise delivers a welcome punch with darker themes and broodier characters. Craig is fantastic as the remorseless and reckless hero, putting all doubts of the ‘blonde Bond’ to rest. Green convincingly gives a new dimension to the stereotypical ‘Bond’ girl. And the film’s centrepiece, a testosterone-charged war of cards, has so many twists you’ll be positively spinning by the final showdown.

If you’re not enticed by the sounds of this moody reincarnate, and long for the days of explosions, seduction and “shaken-not-stirred”s that Connery dealt in spades then fear not! It’s all still here, only now with a measure of sincerity to make this a refreshing concoction in what was a wavering series of sequels.

A true success of cinematic reinvention, “Casino Royale” is unforgivably ace.

Owen Rye

Casino Royale is the twenty-first official James Bond film and marks a change in direction for the Bond franchise. The previous Bond film, Die Another Day, with its invisible car and laser in space, played to every stereotype the Bond films have. This, in contrast, takes Bond closer to Ian Fleming’s original concept more than any of the previous films. Gone are Q and most of Bond’s gadgets, leaving us instead with an exciting character driven story with some of the most stunning action sequences seen in the Bond series.

The story is based on the first Bond book written by Ian Fleming. The pre-credits sequence shows the audience James Bond’s (Craig) first kills that earned him his 00 status. The film then moves to Madagascar where he is on assignment to capture a terrorist bomb maker, but things don’t go according to plan; however, Bond manages to track down the man who the bomb maker was working for, a banker called Le Chiffre (Mikkelsen). Le Chiffre is heavily in debt, so sets up a high stakes poker game to try to pay off his creditors. M has a plan though; to put Bond in the poker game to beat Le Chiffre. If Bond wins, Le Chiffre will have no choice but to surrender to MI6 for protection. If Bond loses, MI6 will have directly funded terrorism.

Daniel Craig is superb in his role and is now considered the best Bond since Sean Connery. He is not only the most physical Bond, but also brings more depth to the character than any previous actor. Eva Green also offers a refreshing change as Bond’s love interest, Vesper Lynd. Vesper holds her own not through strength, like in many recent action films, but through intelligence. This allows Eva Green to make Vesper an intriguing and believable character.

Overall, Casino Royale is not only one of the best Bond films, but a brilliant action film in its own right. Daniel Craig also brings depth to the character allowing people who may have avoided Bond films previously to enjoy this one. Casino Royale is a must see for both die hard Bond fans and people new to the series.

George Marshall

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Screenings of this film:

2006/2007 Spring Term (35mm)
2006/2007 Spring Term (35mm)
2006/2007 Spring Term (35mm)
2007/2008 Autumn Term (35mm)
2008/2009 Spring Term (35mm)