Film Review: Casino Royale (2006)

Eva Green! Daniel Craig in his trunks! Casino Royale has something for everyone, not least a brilliant reboot of the Bond franchise

“MI6 looks for maladjusted young men, who give little thought to sacrificing others in order to protect Queen and country”

The Bond franchise turned to director Martin Campbell to launch Pierce Brosnan’s turn in the hot seat in Goldeneye so there’s some logic in them asking him back to introduce Daniel Craig as 007 in 2006’s Casino Royale. But I don’t think anyone was expecting this successful and comprehensive (a reboot.

By taking Bond back to the beginning – we see him earning his 00 agent status -the chance to see the character being built up layer by layer is irresistibly good, a rare chance to delve beneath the impassive demeanour we usually see. Craig rises to this occasion really rather well, hinting at realms of emotion even whilst developing into a coldly brutal assassin.

And by objectifying him just as much as any of his female counterparts have previously been submitted to, there’s a real nod to the decades of cinematic misogyny in which the franchise has indulged. Stripping away Q and his gadgetry also works well at realigning the focus of a slightly too long but ultimately very good film.

Bond women

See the difference when you actually spend a little time on characterisation…. Caterina Murino’s Solange gets the usual callous treatment of ‘woman murdered after being seduced by Bond’ but Solange died so that Vesper could live. Naturally it helps that I adore Eva Green, but Vesper Lind is a real rarity in that she gets a beginning, middle and brilliant end to a storyline that sees her stiff Treasury Agent melt into becoming the actual love of Bond’s life and someone whose fate you actually care about.  

Theme song

I love pretty much everything about this film so there had to be something right? That thing is Chris Cornell’s rock-inspired ‘You Know My Name’ which I find to be an absolute doofus of a theme song. You can see the logic in the thinking, a strong serious male shot of musical masculinity to back up the rebooted franchise but it just ain’t that interesting a song. Next.

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