What movie was that...?

11 February 2010

Casino Royale

directed by Martin Campbell

If you are like me, you have been tired of the James Bond film series for some time (and are probably right back to tired after Quantum of Solace), dutifully heading to the theater like a lemming, hoping that this time, this time it will be better. I had all but lost hope until I sat down to watch the Bond reboot starring bruiser Daniel Craig. Craig is a smooth operator who don’t take no guff, preferring to pummel his problems into submission. Like the Christopher Nolan classic, Batman Begins, Casino Royale explores a 007 under construction, working out the kinks and picking up baggage that will eventually define his personae. I had my doubts, but Daniel Craig is probably the best Bond ever (cool it, Connery fanboys! I‘m allowed to make assertions like that), finding the vulnerability that previous Bonds (or later, depending on how you look at it) hardly needed to think about, instead burying it deep down beneath a smug and suave veneer. Despite the best efforts of Craig and Mathieu Amalric, and they are fantastic efforts, Marc Forster’s Quantum of Solace was a dud. Like David Fincher and the Benjamin Button disaster, Forster tried to do his version of action, something that seems to be out of his realm of expertise (just like Fincher and love, romance, and sentimentality). Not to mention the fact that the script is terrible to the max, focusing on some ludicrous Bolivian water supply plot (who the hell cares about Bolivia, besides Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?). An awkward pairing combined with a garbage dump script turn Quantum of Solace into Quantum of Suck, but I still have faith for the next Bond film based solely on Craig’s inspired performance, and it doesn’t diminish the ass kicking power of Casino Royale. Shedding all the gadgetry and hype, Casino focuses on performance, story and a game of cards that serves as a metaphor for Bond’s existence. Sometimes, that’s all you need.

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