CASINO ROYALE

(17 Nov 2006)  Director: Martin Campbell

Written by:  Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Paul Haggis


Although the poster on the right was used, I like the one on the left (the teaser) because he looks as lethal as he does suave, and that's what Bond is all about.

Yes, it's a James Bond movie, but with a twist. Yes, there are "Bond girls", but this time, the real eye candy is Bond. First they show us how all-out in great physical shape he is by opening with one hell of a fistfight, and then they cut to an intense chase scene using Parkour! If that wasn't enough, they show him in that unforgettable Grigio Perla blue bathing suit. This is clearly not the soft Bond of the past  who required so much suspension of disbelief.  Not only is he now physically up to the challenge, he's razor sharp mentally, and no more crazy gadgets.  At every turn, he uses his powers of deduction as much as his strength in a script that is as intelligent as it is action packed.

They do a very good job of setting up the scenario of a money-hungry villain with a gambling problem, and use that to introduce a female character from Her Majesty's Treasury to work with Bond, which leads to love. The Bond we knew would never have consoled a woman by holding her in the shower like this; being there for her when she needed someone. This is Bond? This is Bond in love. This early loss (in his career) of this love creates the Bond we know later. Seeing the story behind all the years after of the character's cold emotions brings him full circle for the audience.

The entire movie up to the point of Bond's declaration of love (and WHAT a declaration it is!) can be seen as fate, and after he gives up everything for love, he loses it. Although he believed Vesper loved him, when he thought she was betraying him for the money, the pain must have been unbearable since he not only gave himself to her, but was ready to give up his career as well. Then, as Vesper sacrificed her life seemingly for her crimes, suddenly none of it mattered. He forgave her and was still in love. This broke him. It is a very hard thing to be in love with someone who wrongs you, and still love them no matter what. When Bond finds out Vesper did what she did to save him and not her old boyfriend, it brings him back. Evidence of the strength of Bond's love is that they made Quantum of Solace where he not only avenges her death by revealing the truth, but manages to overcome his "blunt instrument" label (I believe this remark was directed at his emotions not his intelligence, that his feelings were dulled by his training to kill), and keep his emotions in check by not killing the man who used her and set her up. I like to think Bond spared him for her. Knowing how much she once loved her French Algerian boyfriend, Bond stops him from doing it to any other girls, and gets him sent to jail.

It will be very interesting to see how this plays into Bond's ladies man persona in subsequent films. We always knew his 'wife' died but we never suspected he was just having sex and never falling in love because he had once loved so strongly. As if those relationships are so meaningless because this one was so meaningful.

I love how the romance starts. The dialogue here and the play on poker and bluffing is as good as it gets in scriptwriting:
 

BOND MEETS VESPER

VESPER
(Hands him her card. It reads:  "Vesper Lynd, International Liaison Officer, HM Treasury")

The treasury has agreed to stake you in the game. 

 
JAMES
"Vesper." I do hope you gave your parents hell for that.

 
VESPER
(accepting menu from waiter)
Thank you.
Your boss must be well connected. I've never seen so much go out the door so quickly.
JAMES
Or quite so stylishly. May I ask you where it is?
VESPER
Ten million was wired to your account in Montenegro, with a contingency for five more if I deem it a prudent investment.  I suppose you've given some thought to the notion that if you lose, our government will have directly financed terrorism?
(looking at the menu)

What looks good?

(After dinner . . . )
 

VESPER
So, you're telling me it's a matter of probability and odds. I was worried there was some chance involved.
JAMES
Well, only if you assume that the player with the best hand wins.
VESPER
So, there will be what you call bluffing.
JAMES
You've heard the term. Then you'll also know that in poker you never play your hand. You play the man across from you.
VESPER
And you're good at reading people?
JAMES
Yes, I am. Which is why I've been able to detect an undercurrent of sarcasm in your voice.
VESPER
And now I'm assured our money is in good hands.
JAMES
You don't think this is a very good plan, do you?
VESPER
So there is a plan. I got the impression we were risking millions of dollars and hundreds of lives on a game of luck. What else can you surmise, Mr. Bond.
JAMES
About you, Miss Lynd? Well, your beauty is a problem. You worry you won't be taken seriously.
VESPER
Which one can say of any attractive woman with half a brain.
JAMES
True, but this one overcompensates by wearing slightly masculine clothing and being more aggressive colleagues, which gives her a somewhat prickly demeanor, and ironically enough, makes it less likely for her to be accepted and promoted by her male superiors, who mistake her insecurities for arrogance.

Now I'd have normally gone with only child, but, um, you see, by the way you ignored the quip about your parents, I'm gonna have to go with orphan.

VESPER
All right. By the cut of your suit, you went to Oxford or wherever, and naturally think human beings dress like that. But you wear it with such disdain, my guess is you didn't come from money, and your school friends never let you forget it. Which means you were at that school by the grace of someone else's charity, hence the chip on your shoulder. And since your first thought ran to orphan, that's what I'd say you are.

Oh, you are. I like this poker thing. And that makes perfect sense, since MI6 looks for maladjusted young men that give little though to sacrificing others in order to protect Queen and country. You know, former SAS types with easy smiles and expensive watches. 

(looking at this watch)
Rolex?
JAMES
Omega.
VESPER
Beautiful. Now having just met you, I wouldn't go as far as calling you a cold-hearted bastard.
JAMES
No, of course not.
VESPER
But it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine. You think of women as disposable pleasures rather than meaningful pursuits. So as charming as you are, Mr. Bond, I will be keeping my eye on our government's money, and off your perfectly formed ass.
JAMES
You noticed.
VESPER
Even accountants have imagination.  How was your lamb?
JAMES
Skewered. One sympathizes.
VESPER
Good evening, Mr. Bond.
JAMES
Good evening, Miss Lynd.


Daniel Craig and Eva Green dressed in elegant but casual clothes pose on a bed in Venice during film Casino Royale