Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Arrogance And Self-Awareness Seldom Go Hand In Hand

Casino Royale, Odeon Telford, Sunday November 19, 2006.

Didn't quite manage to get to the new Bond flick suited and booted, but did rather heroically secure the company of a gorgeous blonde (the fabulous T). Further good news came with the fact that Casino Royale lives up to the pre-release hype - from the b&w intro to the noirish climax this is a steely attempt to return to the hard-nosed white-knuckle spy stories of the Fleming books and early Connery films. Although a controversial choice initially, Daniel Craig is a brilliant Bond with a credible physique for the stunningly vertiginous action sequences and sufficient acting chops to involve you in the central love story (opposite willowy Eva Green from The Dreamers).

This revisioned Bond dispenses with the gadgets and John Cleese's Q but pretty much everything else you'd want from an 007 is present and correct - glamorous locations; nasty baddies with facial disfigurements (Mads Mikkelson bleeds tears); almost ridiculously voluptuous women (Caterina Murino giving the female lead a run for her money) and some literally heart-stopping setpieces. Despite what you may have heard, the screenplay is generously laced with one-liners, but this time Craig spits them out with such deadly seriousness they never deflect or dilute the life-and-death nature of the assignment at hand. Perhaps the best example is when the barman asks Bond whether he wants his Martini shaken or stirred, to which our secret agent hero replies, 'do I look like I give a damn?'.

The new Bond film, then: dark, exciting and funny. Go see.


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