With his swift, brash killings and gruff conversations with women, Casino Royale’s James Bond is almost a new character. Unlike almost every other 007 flick, this one shows us Bond before he was “Bond, James Bond.”
Like all the other Bond flicks, this one is action-packed, intriguing and loaded with plot twists. In typical fashion, at the very start of the movie there is an opening black and white scene that gives some context as to what lies ahead and the kind of person James Bond is.
The plot in the movie, as in the other 007 films, is a complex one. It boils down to the idea of showing Bond as a younger, less demur individual who takes extreme risks, is very belligerent and egocentric. Bond starts off the movie as a new member of the British intelligence agency MI6. Among his first acts are murdering a mole within the organization and a freelance African bomb maker.
From there, Bond goes to the Bahamas and meets up with a love interest who happens to be a criminal’s girlfriend. The criminal is one of the men working under the main villain in the movie, Le Chiffe. Bond follows up on the criminal as he believes he knows who’s at the center of a trial of planned terrorist attacks. Thereafter, he stops an attack at Miami International scheduled to take out the world’s biggest airliner.
Once this part of the movie has passed, Bond goes to Europe (Montenegro) to meet up with MI6’s inside-man to Le Chiffe named Mathis. Mathis gives Bond the proper connections to allow him to sit at a card game among the world’s richest men. This is where he squares off against Le Chiffe, the financier behind terrorist attacks, at the card game. This leads to Bond facing Le Chiffe outside of the card game including being tortured by Le Chiffe and eventually Bond understands there is a much deeper center to the criminal underworld.
My initial reactions were of amazement and awe. The action sequences are highly dramatic and stimulated emotional responses out of me. There was not a whole of technical wizardry, in the form of fancy special effects and high-tech Bond gadgets, but I feel it worked to make the action more realistic. The action and the plot, with all its twists and suspense, really had me on the edge of my seat. I liked the idea of the movie being a prequel to the other Bond movies and I have a better idea now about the kind of human being James Bond is.
On the other hand, I was caught off by a couple things in the movie. The whole notion of it being set in modern times, in 2007, threw me off quite a deal. Did the movie really need to set itself in this year? I thought it could have done just fine without a specific year mentioned or simply being set it in the 20th century. Also I am not sure about the function of certain characters in the movie as I feel the plot would be a little easier to digest. Then again, the way the movie ended it seems as if these concerns will be addressed in the next prequel movie to come.
In the end Casino Royale is right up there among with the better Bond movies. It has the amount of action that action fans would want while giving the kind of intellectual plot fans of thriller movies would like. I feel this is a film people can appreciate regardless of their knowledge of Bond movies. I would recommend it to anyone who likes action that challenges their gut as well as their mind.