Sunday, November 19, 2006

Casino Royale: portrait of "an erotomaniacal British toff"

(for a much more withering perspective, the source of the "an erotomaniacal British toff" quote, try this)

I saw it yesterday in a new theater. The first two hours were pretty good. It's a nice action-thriller movie, with high production value. The locations were terrific. The script is fine, exceptional in places. The story is deeper than usual.

Daniel Craig was not bad, in spite of the fact I can't find one particular thing I actively liked about him or his performance. His wardrobe was miserable in several scenes. I don't think he's very good at fights or foot chases or action in general. The first chase scene was nicely planned and fun to watch. The guy being chased was incredibly agile and strong, which probably highlighted Craig's inadequacies. I'm ambivalent about Craig's repartee and expressions. An example of a scene that I enjoyed but also think showed his lack of gravitas is the black and white opening scene, excerpted here). I didn't think I would miss Pierce Brosnan - he was lacking in soul. Yet, here, I do miss him.

Eva Green is fun. I like her accent, and I think she's a reasonably good actress (better than most Bond "girls"). She reminds me of Deborah Winger. Her wardrobe was terrific. There was some inconsistency: even at the end of the movie, I was unable to confidently reconstruct her motivations. Judi Dench's M was wonderful, of course. There was no Q, and it was no loss.

The movie is incredibly long. The last half hour is slow and agonizing. Clearly they tried to make it shorter, but the results were a few painful discontinuities which left the viewer surprised to discover what city we were now in.

I think I'm not conveying the pleasure I took in seeing it - I did enjoy it. If I knew before I saw it how much I would enjoy it, I would still make the same choice. But I'm a sucker for action movies.

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