Casino Royale ★★★★
This was the best Bond film for some time. It marked the debut of Daniel Craig, himself the best 007 since Connery, and took the character back closer to Ian Fleming’s original creation. True, he doesn’t smoke, drink a lot or even have much sex. But he’s tougher, moodier, more vulnerable — especially where women are concerned — than most of his predecessors. What’s more the film refreshingly moves away from the increasing emphasis on gadgets and gimmickry that had dominated so many of the previous movies. Nor does the plot involve some arch-villain intent on world domination but instead a terrorist gang’s desperate financier (Mads Mikkelsen), who has to win a big poker game to save his life. It’s up to Bond, of course, to thwart him. There’s plenty of action and violence, naturally, and an intriguing femme fatale in the mysterious Vesper (Eva Green). Shock moment: when Bond says he doesn’t give a damn whether his martini is shaken or stirred.
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