Casino Royale

Casino Royale ★★★½

My first Bond film:

Despite how many things this film does right, I didn’t love it. Before I try to break down why I didn’t adore this film, let me gush for a minute about its excellent qualities.

#1. The chase near the beginning of the film is one of the greatest action scenes ever put to film. It feels raw, real, cinematic and scary. And I loved seeing the contrast between 007 and the African terrorist. Bond was clearly less athletic, but he used his smarts to get the upper hand a number of times. The best scene in the movie, hands down.

#2. All the casting and performances were spot on. Bond was perfect. He’s stone cold, but still giving us peaks behind the curtain. Eva Green. She’s the perfect blend of strength and timid likability, and gives us a very well fleshed out love interest. M, and Mads were magnificent as well.

#3. The Film overall has a classic Hollywood feel to it that I really enjoyed. Beautiful women, fancy possessions, witty/flirtatious dialogue, perfect quips, (that last hand nearly killed me), and of course, 0% accuracy when shooting fully automatic weapons at our hero. Not everything needs to be realistic all the time. I had fun with the unabashed movie-esque moments.

#4. The opening credits were creative and delicious.

#5. The poker game shouldn’t have kept my attention like it did, but it was fantastically crafted, and had me glued to the screen for every second. I legitimately didn’t know what was going to happen.

#6. The clothed shower scene was a beautiful and tender moment that made me connect with both the leads so much more. It almost brought a tear to my eye.

#7. “Do I look like a give a d**n.”

I could go on about positives. For the most part this film is so well crafted, and I could understand if you said this was one of your favorite movies ever. But for me, it just didn’t do it for me all the way.

You know when you’re watching a 10/10 movie and you get this rising feel in your stomach as it keeps going and it keeps being amazing? You’re exhilarated/praying that this film can stick the landing. My mind goes to the first time I saw “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” or “Goodfellas”. But this film, despite having fantastic elements, just did not get those butterflies flapping. I think the film was too long, had too disconnected of a storytelling structure, and did not have a clear enough goal from the very beginning. Some movies just don’t have that rhythm. And in several places during this film, I lost interest. I don’t know if I can pinpoint a lot of things wrong with this film technically, but for me, it just didn’t abduct me like I wanted it to. I absolutely recommend it, and I think most people will love this. But for me, it fell short or great.

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