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casino royal Casino Royal
Directed by:
Martin Campbell
Cast: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads, Mikkelsen

Written by:
Ricardo Barberini

November 20, 2006

The old posters used to proclaim in big bold letters:  “Sean Connery is James Bond” and underneath “James Bond is Sean Connery.”  For many movie goers and true aficionados of the genre that still holds true.


We have had five successions of James Bonds since Sean Connery hung up his guns back in the 1971. 

First there was George Lazenby who actually made a decent portrayal in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969.)  However, he eventually ended up selling Grey Poupon mustard. 

Then there was Roger Moore who went overboard in trying to act smooth and somehow came across as effeminate, at least to some of us.  I could never understand how or why he lasted so long in that role.  He always came across as an arrogant emasculated snob regardless of how many women they showed him in bed with. 

The reason for success of the stories was the marketing genius of the producer the late Albert Broccoli who made Bond into a successful franchise plus all the wonderful British, American, German, French and Italian supporting actors starting with Desmond Llewelyn as ‘Q’ and his gadgets. 

Roger hasn’t done much since being pushed out of that role either.  Then along came, the two films wonder Timothy Dalton followed by Pierce Brosnan.  I actually liked Pierce Brosnan and was sad when he was pushed out.  But, he was too polished to be an effective James Bond.  Sean Connery, especially when he played James Bond, displayed a streak of cruelty and sadism that was hard to follow. 

Now we have Daniel Craig in the title role.  Craig is no Roger Moore.  He is masculine and brutal and has an air of authority about him.  I would say he is the closest one can get to Sean. 

The story is the usual MI6 secret service yarn.  There is group of crooked international money launderers who are the bankers to the terrorists and Freedom Fighter groups.  The investment brains behind the operation is a man by the name of Le Chiffre (Mad Mikkelsa) who tries to make a quick buck for himself by blowing up a prototype airliner and forcing the makers into bankruptcy.  Unfortunately for him, Bond steps in and spoils his plans in a wonderfully cinematographed chase scene at the Miami Airport. Thanks to James Bond, the villain loses over 100 Million dollars of his clients’ money in his mad scheme of combining terrorism and stock market manipulation. He is now hunted by the terrorists who want their money back. 

Le Chiffre devises a plan to win his money back by staging a high stakes poker game in Casino Royale in Montenegro.  In Ian Fleming’s book the Casino Royale was in Mote Carlo.

James is given fifteen million dollars to gamble and try to win the rest of the money that Le Chiffre has.  The plan is that a penniless Le Chiffre who is on the run from the terrorists will be seeking asylum from the either the British MI6 or the American CIA.

The plan goes wrong.  First, Bond loses ten million dollars and then when CIA steps in to bail him out, he is poisoned by the villains.  James Bond’s  life is saved at the last minute by Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) who is a UK treasury agent assigned to act as his girl friend and keep track of the money.  Eventually, he wins over 120 million dollars.  The Americans offer asylum to Le Chiffre which he seemingly accepts and we almost have a happy ending, right?  Well no, actually in a twisted series of double cross, kidnapping and high speed car chase things go from bad to worse.  Vesper is kidnapped and Bond is tortured to reveal the secret of the bank account where the money is electronically deposited.  He resists and just before being killed by Le Chiffre, he is rescued by an unknown gunman who actually happens to be Le Chiffre’s boss, a Mr. White who is an International Banker and the middle man between terrorist organizations and other bankers.

Bond and Vesper fall in love with each other; Bond quits the agency and sails into Venice for a happy ending, or is it?  The final twist in the movie is quite predictable but nevertheless the execution is quite satisfying.

There are many double crosses and triple crosses in the movie starting even before the first credits roll.  The movie is guaranteed to keep you entertained and, on occasions, on the edge of your seat for its entire duration of two and a half hours.

While Daniel Craig makes a good gritty James Bond, he is not a great actor.  In fact the acting is not the strong point of this movie.  The director, Martin Campbell, has relied on creating facial imperfections and abnormalities to separate the good guys from the bad guys.  So, you know the bad guys are the ugly ones with a scar across one eye or shaved head punks.  There are no slick English actors here and we miss the lack of the late “Q” who was such a joy in the other James Bond movies.  The Academy Award winner Judi Dench gives a mediocre performance as “M.”  She tries to be serious but it comes out as too camp.

Mads (pronounced Mass, its Danish) Mikkelsa who plays Le Chiffre the villain is no great actor either.  The director has resorted to giving him a false crooked eye to make him look vicious.  However, I thought Caterina Murino who played Solange was one of the sexiest new faces around.  Not only she is seductively gorgeous but she can act and has such a wonderful accent.  The special effects are superb.  The Airport scene that we mentioned earlier and the chase scene inside a skyscraper and the giant cranes are wonderful.  The sinking mansion in Venice was wonderfully created.  The audience on the opening night loved it.  After the movie was over, the majority sat in their chairs for the final credits and the powerful rendition of the Bond theme.
I will give itstarstarstar.  Go see this movie, you’ll enjoy it.

Please Note:  The opinions expressed in are the views of the movie critic and may not reflect the opinions of

(Ricardo Barberini is a “People’s Critic.”  Unlike most other critics who see the movies in special screenings or on DVD at their homes or offices, Ricardo like a true critic attends the first night openings and buys his own ticket to see the movies, just like the rest of you.  He sits in the middle of the theatre to feel the reaction of the audience before writing about the movie.)

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