Bond-aries

I just saw, and really liked, the new Bond film Casino Royale.  The bland pop formula for that series, degrading steadily from the none-too-sharp beginnings with Sean Connery, had become insipid and banal under Moore and Brosnan, and  was badly in need of a makeover.  Though this  attempt is a little flawed, it is a very brave attempt to contact the nitty-gritty that would make a real Bond.  The most telling scene is an out-of-context, black & white flashback of what is presumably his first kill, an awful, grungy, fight to the death in a washroom.

This is followed by a usual bit of derring-do, but unusually shot and edited so that the impact is quite visceral and kinesthetic – less the feeling of watching Bond, more the feeling of being him in some quite extraordinary, just outside of believable feats.

Of course, Dame Judi Dench has no trouble putting more meat into her role as M, but the real surprise is the ubiquitous Bond girl, which this time takes on elements of a real relationship.

A few bits are clumsy and repetitive, the film is overlong, the nods to earlier Bond efforts seem out of place, and the plotters’ motives less than clear, but Daniel Craig (who shows his range in the underappreciated Layer Cake) is easily watchable, definitely worthy of the role, and of the remaking of the role.  If there is a next time, let it be even stronger in it’s adherence to reality.

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