Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Better Bond

This was surely not like the Bond films of my youth. Where were the quips? Where were the put-downs? Where were the double entendres? No, this new Bond film with its new Bond, was a really fresh approach to the genre. It was gritty; it was mean; it was hard. Was all of this a backlash against the criticism of Daniel Craig?

Don't get me wrong, Casino Royale had a Full House of features from earlier in the franchise. After all there were the women, the locations, the stunts and the chases. In fact it looked fabulous, no doubt due to the cinematography of Phil Meheux, who performed that role on the similarly tough 'Long Good Friday', another Rod K favourite. The story cranked along at a fair pace, too, in a mad dash to visit as many exotic places as the budget would allow.

But it was Craig, as the latest incarnation of JB, who played the character as darkly as it is possible to get whilst remaining entertaining, and staying within the bounds of a 12A production. The grainy, black and white sequences at the beginning flashing back to his pre-00-licence days showed a ruthless and un-pretty side to his character. This was no gentleman pursuing the noble cause of fighting for Queen and Country, but a out and out thug, a hired hand who was working his way up the ranks.

I haven't read the original novel, but I understand that it was actually quite a short story. It seemed as if quite a lot of extra screenplay had been built up around the basic premise of the book: that of the fledgling agent on his first mission who is trying to beat his quarry at cards, in order to bankrupt the terrorists' banker. But it was all the better for it, showing the skill of the writers in transforming the written word to the projected image.

Not even the enforced evacuation of the cinema for a fire alarm, which meant a half-hour wait outside whilst the building was checked, could spoil our enjoyment.

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