Movie Review: Casino Royale

Few fictional characters have gone through as many avatars as Ian Flemming's creation, James Bond. In five decades, Bond has been unemotional rugged(Connery), one hit wonder(Lazenby), wisecracking philanderer(Moore), Shakespearean (Dalton), runway model(Brosnan) and finally, street fighter(Craig).

Daniel Craig has indeed created a phenomenon with the street fighting, no nonsense Bond, a big contrast to the one played by Brosnan. Many have criticized Casino Royale, including Roger Moore, for excessive violence but as Moore himself would concede, it is a sign of our times that we prefer more 'high Octane' action.

Bond movies have had many fixtures, notably the scantily clad bond girls, high tech gadgets, fancy cars and of course, maniacal villains with grand designs of destroying or altering the planet. This is where Casino Royale breaks away from many Bond cliches.

As one would expect, it has more violence than any of the bond movies made before it. There are women, but unlike in past movies many are more than mere showpieces. In fact, Casino Royale continues the trend from the Brosnan movies of portraying Bond's Boss, 'M' as a woman.

Unlike the earlier Bond films that focus on a madman hellbent on causing world destruction this one focuses on Bond himself and how he got to be 007. Unlike his predecessors, this Bond is not infallible and does not make the right judgement. He gives into his emotions more than once, incurring the wrath of his demanding boss. He is also vulnerable to feminine charm and this could jeopardize his future with the Secret Service.

Casino Royale is the tale of a vigilante Bond trying to destroy the entire supply chain of an illegal arms trade. The endeavor would take Bond from Africa to the Bahamas and the United States and finally land him in a high stakes Card Game.

Could Bond keep his emotion and the villains at bay and win the game? The climax, however is not the game but its aftermath, that would force Bond to make judgment calls on who to trust.

Casino Royale is among the best of Bond movies and humanizes 007 for the first time. It is the tale of how Bond becomes 007.

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