It’s been a few weeks since I caught this at the cinema, but it’s worth me giving a quick review, I think – if nothing else, it gives me a chance to post the picture to the left there; Daniel Craig’s first press conference after it was announced he was playing James Bond led a lot of the papers to be rather scathing, but the majority of them did a volte-face when they saw the actual film. Apparently they’re not able to distinguish between the actor and the role, though perhaps such a tenuous grasp of the difference between reality and fiction is a job requirement for journalists.
Anyway, Casino Royale is a very decent Bond film, and a good solid thriller in its own right. It features the standard elements of the Bond films (pre-title sequence, him saying his name in – y’know – that way, specific drink orders, etc), but unlike, say, its immediate predecessor (the woefully patchy Die Another Day), it also features a strong plot with a discernible through-line (as they say), and good performances by all the cast.
One or two of the lines are a bit wonky, but the general pacing’s very good, and they do well in coming up with some stunt sequences that are actively inventive (the free running bit, for example), and the pre-title bit sets out the stall well; it’s a flashback, and then they go into a flashback within that. Fairly unusual for a Bond film, let’s face it, and streets ahead of the thinking that leads to such nonsense as invisible cars.
Anyway, heartily recommended if you want a good entertaining film with some actual character development for Bond, and some respectable twists. And worth seeing on the big screen for the ‘wow’ factor – one or two scenes had the (admittedly fairly lively Saturday night) audience I was a member of actually gasping, which must mean the film-makers were doing something right.