Monday, December 18, 2006

Bloody excellent, Bond!

Erk. What a very good film Casino Royale is.

Aside from comparisons with the rest of the franchise, most of which seem to exist in some kind of critical vacuum (or at least an alternate dimension where wanking the studio’s money-cock until it shoots its load over the screen time and time again is somehow seen to be a GOOD THING), it compares very favourably with action movies in general.

Tightly plotted, subtly scripted (yes, I did just use the word ‘subtle’ in a piece about a Bond movie) and believably played by a cast who can act and, probably more importantly, are being allowed to act. There’s a lot to like about the film.

Daniel Craig - if you’ve never seen anything else of his, buy Layer Cake and see how it’s done. An intense man, yet not caught up in that to the point of trying to ‘be’ intense, with the most ridiculously blue eyes outside of a Viking. It wouldn’t surprise me if he pops up in a longboat at some time with a horned helmet, on a pillaging run somewhere...

Eva Green - hmm, aside from an accent that careers wildly around the home counties (a valiant effort in all honesty), she has a brittle vulnerability in the role of Vesper Lynd that makes Bond’s reaction to her very believable. She also doesn’t telegraph her character’s true motivations, making for a very real internal struggle. Great stuff.

Judi Dench - it’s almost too easy to throw superlatives at Dame Judes, but she really is that good. Restrained, delicate and at turns imperious in the role, she’s an actor with a range most would happily murder their parents for. It’s only when you sit back and think about how right she is able to make every line, bit of business and nuance feel that you begin to experience something close to awe about the craft. In her hands, M is a complex, driven, assured woman who is taking a risk with her new ‘double-oh’ agent, but is under no illusions about how it will play out for him if he fails to toe the line.

No silly gadgets, no daft invisible cars, very little in terms of quips (and those that are in the script aren’t tediously overworked innuendo), no “look at how obscenely fucking rich I am” ostentation and a protagonist who is perfectly believable in the lonely, disaffected world of the spy/assassin.

In fact, many of the most memorable moments in the film are small in nature. When a gun is thrown at Bond, instead of ducking, he catches it without thinking and throws it straight back at the guy, hitting him in the head. This is in the middle of an astoundingly choreographed action sequence of running stunts at the start of the film. The whole sequence is great, but small touches like that, that make the man human, are vital to his overall believability.

A hero whose flaws don’t lead him to navel-gazing or leave him wracked by guilt for what he does. A hero who is propelled by his flaws to become the best in the business.

Excellent stuff! Go see it.


At 12:03 am, Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

I have to say, I've seen just about all the Bond flicks, and this was the best one since Connery, to me .. I just hope Mr. Craig is now taking some well-deserved time out to gloat to all the haters who doubted he could pull this off

At 5:34 am, Blogger wcdixon said...

Yeah I dug this Bond movie a lot...little lull in the last third but all was forgiven.

At 7:36 pm, Blogger litbrit said...

I hear all sorts of good stuff about the film. I must go.

But is there something wrong with the Home Counties, Sir?! Are you including Hampshire?

At 10:12 pm, Blogger Riddley Walker said...

It was more that her accent was on some kind of out-of-control rampage around quite a few versions of RP.

Nowt wrong with Hampshire, m'dear!


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