Casino Royale delivered the aces! Now, this is where Bond had left off and things are about to get "stirred and shaken" literally!
Swiss-German Director Marc Forster (Finding Neverland) gave the film another exceptional take on the Spy finding his way to stop a criminal clandestine group and avenging his first true love. Screenwriters Paul Haggis (Crash), Neal Purvis (The World is Not Enough) and Robert Wade (Die Another Day) provide another premise so full of energy and excitement! I admired how they were able to let the flow of the story connect the two films where it still incorporates details, names and locations dealt with Vesper Lynd the double crossing lover and Le Chiffre the primary antagonist from Casino Royale.
Outstanding captured moments from the revolving 5 axis crane camera while panning-in at the snake-like roads of Garda and Carrara Italy and as it becomes closer so does the intensity of revd-up Aston Martins cruising in the tunnels while Bond is being gunned down by the "organisation" only known as Quantum. Absolutely breathtaking initiated in the well choreographed car chase scenes courtesy of Arm Driver Dean Bailey and Stunt Coordinator Gary Powell from intro to its cliff hanging demise!
This film had more action oriented scenes and the body count that goes along with it keeps getting higher and higher by the minute! To make the ambiance relevant, David Arnold's music made it transcending from the boat chase up-tempo beats then soothing it down flawlessly in the next sequences. The project also had plenty of places to go and to explore wherein locations scouted for an ocular by the Director and Crew to give it a better sense of authenticity from the script and required settings, spanning from the festive tradition Palio horse race of Italy, to the damp and cold London, next we are taken to the humid streets of Haiti, sophisticated Austria and the extremely unbalanced lifestyle of Bolivia where the rich tramples on the poor and its minority!
To add, in your typical spy thriller or anything with a military plot attached to it, we usually get the computer encoded Time Frame, Location and its classification bleeping at the bottom of the screen at least here, we have unique fonts to take us into the different places as we follow the story.
Wounded from the last encounter, Jesper Christensen (The Interpreter) returns as Mr. White! He is making it harder for the MI6 to understand the threat they pose as an organisation, even mocking M and Bond in the interrogation process. As Quantum's new "slave" Mathieu Almaric (Mesrine) plays Dominic Greene, another pawn in this cat and mouse game! A supposed Philanthropic Businessman who expresses his concerns with the environment and its preservation through his company The Greene Planet! He's demeanour for being wickedly manipulative hides behind his clean propaganda, a front for his Superiors to let a deposed General rule the country once again! Mathieu can be soft spoken but makes up for his intentions for the greed he generates while his eyes glare in the moment of betrayal, aggravation or by making him feel insulted!
Returning as 007 Agent Daniel Craig (The Golden Compass). In this 22nd film, Bond makes it personal giving in to the thrill of pursuing Agents, Assassins, Gun Men and Body Guards who still have no absolute idea who they are dealing with. He is constantly monitored by M, ignoring her often times for the killing spree he has been doing in taking out possible leads to their objective...
There was this particular scene when he follows and does surveillance for Mr. Greene in an Opera titled Tosca, he goes to the highest point to monitor all of those involved in the transaction presented by the "eager" businessman! I liked the way how it was executed and seeing all these mocked up so-called "Illuminati" members get their head shots (metaphorically speaking) while they are simultaneously downloaded to MI6 HQ! To add, I believe that something significant about the involvement of the Canadian Government which will hopefully explained and given more detail in Skyfall!
Judi Dench (Goldeneye) again serves as his Superior M and as a "surrogate mother"! There is an unravelling inner conflict and at the same time mutual feelings about these two people. Both have commented in their respective performance and the only thing that matters with them is to trust each other no matter the cost! With new Bond Girls coming to the foray, Olga Kurylenko (Hitman) as Ex-Bolivian Agent Camille who has her own agenda in avenging her family and Gemma Anterton (The Disappearance of Alice Creed) is an ordinary girl with an extra-ordinary job! I asked myself what? Her screen name was Strawberry Fields how cute can you get? Is it just to flatter Bond or make it something less consp*cuous bringing in the Spy to be reprimanded or suspended to say the least!
Returning cast Jeffrey Wright (Lady in the Water) as CIA Agent and "brother" Felix Leiter who works more intensively trying to uncover the secret plans of the Tierra Project being put in place while Giancarlo Giannini (Hannibal) reprises his role as veteran Agent Rene Mathis, suspected in working with the "terrorist" he was later pardoned and was given a luxurious haven as a gesture of apology from the British Government! He was the only one Bond can approach now seeing that he has been cut off from the Agency's finances. Mathis brought in the epiphany for Bond to contemplate on just to remind him that all is forgiven between them and most of all, forgiving Vesper and himself in the process to move on with his life.
To encapsulate, the ideas being given deals with a bigger scenario that makes 007 work incessantly to bring down this corrupt organisation that not only destroys lives but countries as well! The Director gave it the same powerful take in the missions and life of the British Secret Spy. On the other hand, in the earlier parts of the film were fast paced but got slower with cut up or shortened scenes as the story progresses. I still commend him for instilling the perfect environment for the characters to blend in; everything he injects from hotels, cars, boats and even propeller driven planes has their own persona that matches the world where James Bond carry out his duties, a little old fashioned but up to date!
As mentioned in the final scene when M wanted him back in the Agency, he promptly replied "I never left..." this completes his trail for his vendetta and soon will be tackling another threat with the same group of people only known as Quantum!