CASINO ROYALE – A Review by Frank Mengarelli

CASINO ROYALE created a new dawn in film. Not only was it a swift and needed step away from the loathsome DIE ANOTHER DAY, it also created a template on how to not only reboot a mainstay franchise, but do it with such gravitas and clarity that the franchise itself feels anew and reinvigorated.

Daniel Craig was more or less unknown to the masses. He had appeared in LAYER CAKE, Sam Mendes’ ROAD TO PERDITION, and a handful of small, independent European films. Craig quickly proved his naysayers wrong (including me, who was a staunch lobbyist for Clive Owen).

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Craig’s blonde hair and blue eyes may not have been akin to what James Bond is supposed to look like, but his swagger, attitude, and brutish demeanor brought absolute justice to the biggest standing franchise in film history.

While the film was updated to the current digital age, and reflecting our current pop culture obsession with the addition of Texas Hold’em, the film remained grounded in it’s original source material. Validating every word that Ian Flemming wrote in his 1953 novel.

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While now, the Texas Hold’em arc may seem silly considering the fad has long been removed from ESPN and the mainstream of American culture; essentially that’s what a Bond film is. It had always been a reflection of our present day culture.

Enter into the fold Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffery Wright, Eva Green, Giancarlo Giannini, and Jesper Christensen; the film stayed true to casting an exotic array of worldly cinematic actors, while retaining Judi Dench’s M, GoldenEye’s Martin Campbell and seminal Bond scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade – the film remained grounded within the cinematic world of James Bond whilst taking the franchise in a much needed and welcomed new direction.

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