Casino Royale (2006)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Casino Royale</strong> (2006)

(In theaters, November 2006) At a time where we thought we could simply dismiss all new James Bond entries as scarcely more than action films, here’s another reinvention of the franchise that goes back to the dark psychological roots of the character, and doesn’t forget to include two or three of the best action scenes of the year, smoothly wrapped in the classic glamour and exoticism of the series. Daniel Craig is very good in the iconic role, presenting a performance that’s closer to Connery (or Ian Fleming’s own depiction) than any of the other Bonds since. The direction is nervy enough, the script is polished and the cinematography is luscious. The only notable problems are a long lull late in the film, a torture scene that sticks a bit too closely to the original book and a whiff of the familiar “love conquers secret agent before making him even meaner” series plot. But really, what else do you need to know? Bond’s back, and his future looks bright.

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