Casino Royale

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The coldest blood runs through my veins. You know my name.

So you want me to be half monk, half hitman.

Ian Fleming sold the rights to his first James Bond novel separately from the rest of the films, which is the reason that it took so long for a proper adaptation of the first novel.

With the 21st film in the franchise, the EON production team essentially rebooted the continuity of the Bond series and started over with Bond acquiring his license to kill (due to Comic Book Time however, it is still officially part of the same series).

In this film, adapted from the novel (moving its setting from the 1950s to the present day and from France to the newly-independent Montenegro), Bond must essentially win a high-stakes game of Poker against a terrorist financier known only as Le Chiffre. Along the way, Bond gets tortured and falls in love with Vesper Lynd.

The film's first half, which shows how Bond earned his 00 status and tracked down Le Chiffre, was written directly for the screen. The second half follows Fleming's original novel, but features several changes. The card game was originally Baccarat but changed to Texas Hold 'Em Poker, a trendy move but also better suited for film. The book in general lacks the wisecracks and otherwise humorous moments, which makes the torture scene a different affair altogether. Lastly Vesper's final scenes are less action-packed, which also leaves out a long discussion between Bond and Mathis on the nature of evil.

This film is a lot darker than the previous films, with the fight scenes brutal and bloody. At some point during the Bond franchise it became essentially its own genre, about a suave superhero secret agent who would save the world from megalomaniacs using Underwater Bases, Kill Sats, pilfered nuclear weapons or anything else that might spell out the end of the world. This film in general tone is a bit closer to a political thriller at its core (tracking down the cash flow of a terrorist organization) modified to include the talents of James Bond. It was cheered on by fans of the franchise for rebooting and generally tightening what had become somewhat tired and stale.

Quantum of Solace continues directly from this movie, making it among the few Bond movies that elaborate a greater story arc instead of the standalone format.

The film is in fact the third (and certainly best) production of Casino Royale. Its predecessors were made by companies other than EON. Neither can be considered in any way canon, and both took a lot of liberties with the story and character (of course, true to form, this film took its own liberties):

  • The 1954 version, a live TV episode of Climax!.
  • The 1967 version, a satire with eight "James Bonds" and six directors involved.
Tropes used in Casino Royale include:

A surprising number of these also turn up in the novel.

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Brutally Deconstructed with Solange. She married Demitrios and regrets it, then briefly hooks up with Bond, remarking on how they're both "bad men" and how she loves this kind of guy because they're "so much more interesting" than "nice guys". Later in the film, her association with the man who helped orchestrate the bomb plot (Demitrios) and the man who foiled it (Bond) are what gets her tortured to death.
  • Awesome Yet Practical: Very few gadgets, very little jokes, greater focus on the intelligence and physical skill of the main character (this comes more or less from the book, since Bond didn't become a gadgeteer until the original film adaptations). In fact, the only two pieces of truly high-tech equipment are a tracer placed into Bond's forearm and a rather high-tech first-aid kit in his car with an electrocardiogram that is connected to the MI 6 headquarters, both of which are extremely practical.
    • The relative lack of gadgets can be a case of Technology Marches On. Imagine if Sean Connery's Bond was given a radio telephone that could download navigational data from a network of military satellites in geosynchronous orbit over the Earth? Never mind his portable wireless computer terminal that can connect to MI 6's computer database from evidently anywhere, even a fishing boat in the middle of the water, and which can fit in a suitcase easily?
      • Good God man, be reasonable! We have to make it believable!
    • Actually there are as many gadgets as in any other Bond movie, they only lack traditional exposition. Tracking device allowing to precisely show the location of the target on the 3D map of the building and using a cellphone application as an interface? Bloodstream toxin analyzer with satellite connection? Call analysis system allowing to track the place the call was made by reading the SIM card? Definitely 'gadgety' enough.
  • Badass: Daniel Craig's version of Bond is remorseless when he kills, which becomes a theme in the film. He can also apparently smash his way through drywall and takes a nail gun to his shoulder without even a grimace.
    • Which is quite accurate to Ian Fleming's original novel version.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Particularly in the film's final scene.
  • Blood on These Hands: Vesper, in the shower, hysterical from panic.
  • Bond Gun Barrel: The movie plays with this bit; a part of the actual narrative becomes the "Bond Shooting At A Gun Barrel's POV" scene.
  • Break the Cutie: Bond in the chair with no bottom. Bond being heartbroken after Vesper's death, and that causes Bond's depression and weariness seen in most of Quantum of Solace.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: The poker winnings.
  • Bulungi: In Madagascar, Bond storms the embassy of a fictional country named "Nambutu".
  • Byronic Hero: Bond.
  • California Doubling: All scenes that take place in Montenegro and United States are actually shot in Czech Republic (that is located in different climatic zone than Montenegro and Florida). Also, Madagascar in the opening is the Bahamas.
  • The Cameo: In the Miami airport scene, look very closely at who is in the metal detection scanner opposite the Skyfleet bomber. Of all people, Richard Branson decides to make an appearance.
  • The Can Kicked Him: Bond's first murder was in a bathroom in a Paris subway.
  • Cat Smile: Valenka (Le Chiffre's girlfriend).
  • Chase Scene: Played straight with the Parkour scene, but subverted for the car chase: When Bond rushes out in his fancy modified Aston-Martin after the people who kidnapped Vesper, he's almost immediately driven off the road by them dropping her in the center of the road. He is summarily captured (This is taken directly from the book; all that's changed is the model of car).
  • Chekhov's Gun: Near the beginning is a scene with Le Chiffre playing poker. "I have 2 pair, you have a 17.5% chance of getting a straight". Guess what happens during the big poker game...
    • Bond actually gets a straight flush, the probability of which is much lower than getting a regular straight.
    • Early in the movie, The Bombmaker gets spooked when he sees one of the British agents holding a finger to his ear, giving away that he was using an earpiece. Later on, when Bond and Vesper are trying to evade a pair of bad guys via Fake-Out Make-Out, one of the bad guys notices the earpiece that Bond was using to listen in on Le Chifre with.
  • Chess Motifs: Variation, with casino and poker motifs.
  • City of Canals: Including a scene where Bond sinks a floating building.
  • Cool Car: Just look at Bond's Aston! Just freaking look at it! Even if it was completely stock it would still be gorgeous!
    • And the older Aston that Bond runs into isn't half bad either.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Pretty disturbing especially for a Bond movie.
  • Continuity Reboot: The movie did this to the Bond movie franchise. Though they also have claimed in secondary material that it's a Prequel.
    • Possibly. A popular fan theory holds that "James Bond" is just a pseudonym used by 007 agents, and that each Bond actor in the series portrays a different character. If it's true, Casino Royale could just be the origin story for a new agent.
    • Broad Strokes: It still retains Judi Dench and the post-Cold War scenario from the Pierce Brosnan films, though now she misses the Cold War, when agents had the decency to defect after a big mistake, rather than seeing Bond as a relic of that era.
  • Cosmopolitan Council: The players at the high-stakes poker game.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: At the end, Bond isn't so much trying to restore circulation as getting one last grope of Vesper's rack.
  • Dare to Be Badass: The chorus from the opening song puts a darker spin on this trope, basically couching it in a warning that if you don't Take a Level In Badass, you will be dead very quickly:

Arm yourself, because no one else here will save you
The odds will betray you
And I will replace you...

  • Darker and Edgier: The movie tries to be more mature and realistic than its predecessors -- for example, instead of just adding extra blood, sex, and swearing (all of which existed in previous Bond films), the movie made more subtle changes. Interestingly, some of its darkest elements were actually taken straight from the book (such as the torture scene late in the film).
  • Death by Cameo: The director of the film plays a truck driver who has his neck snapped at the Miami airport.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: With a playing card theme, in the opening credits.
  • Determinator: Bond, whenever he's in chase mode. When going after the Parkour-adept bombmaker, he uses a bulldozer to smash through the obstacles.
  • Didn't Think This Through: At least a couple on the part of the writers, where they somewhat misunderstood elements of the original novel.
    • Bond blows his cover when he and Vesper arrive at the hotel, his reasons for doing so being that he's giving Le Chiffre a name he already has in exchange for more vital information about him. In the original novel it is stated that Bond's cover didn't matter as far as Le Chiffre was concerned, he already knew who he was and if he didn't he was going to as soon as they sat down to play cards with each other, but it was important to keep up appearances so as to keep his identity as a SECRET agent a secret from all the other guests and players.
  • Downer Ending: "The bitch is dead." The line's from the original novel, more or less. Interestingly, M's response to this line provokes a change in 007 that was not there in the novel. Rather than turning hard and misogynistic, he becomes obsessed with revenge. (Of course in either case Bond was simply covering his feelings, showing hatred and contempt instead of the sadness he felt at being betrayed by and losing the woman he loved).
  • Drop-Dead Gorgeous: Vesper Lynd does a Wet Sari Scene as a corpse.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Bond's answer to Mollaka's freerunning.
  • Eye Scream: In the final gunfight, Bond shoots the head of the thugs in the eye with a nailgun. Ironically, the exact eye that is punctured by the nail was already blind (indicated by the opaque lenses of his glasses), if not gone altogether.
    • He might not have been actually blind. Some marksmen close one eye while shooting (or, in this case, have one of their lenses blacked out) to cut down on depth perception and improve their aim.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: Fails when a guard spots Bond's earpiece.
  • Five-Bad Band:
  • Finger-Suck Healing: Bond sucks on Vesper's fingers when she is going into shock.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Dryden is shot, there's a brief shot of him with his family, emphasizing the fact that no matter how you paint him, Bond is a killer.
  • Grenade Tag
  • Groin Attack: What Le Chiffre does with a knotted rope.
  • Heroic BSOD: Bond has a variation at the end of one game after Le Chiffre deliberately uses his tell to fool Bond while everyone else leaves the table.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In one scene, a mook tries to blow up a plane via remote detonator, only to find that Bond somehow clipped the bomb to his belt...
  • Hollywood Nerd: Le Chiffre somewhat qualifies. He's very good at math, a poker prodigy, and he has an inhaler.
    • In the book, it's stated that the inhaler is Benzedrine. It might not necessarily be for asthma, though; perhaps he's using it as a stimulant.
      • Benzedrine is an older name for dextroamphetamine.
  • Hostage Situation: Somewhat reversed, in that the hero is the one taking the hostage. Subverted again in that when the eye-patched villain tries to take Vesper hostage, Bond doesn't care what happens to her, because he thinks she's a double agent.
  • Image Song: Chris Cornell's "You Know My Name", which also has cues in the score to act as the Leitmotif before the final scene.
  • Informed Attractiveness

Vesper: Hello.
Mathis: I suppose I don't have to tell you how beautiful you look. Half the people on that table are still watching you.

Dryden: How did he die?
Bond: Your contact? Not well.
Dryden: Made you feel it, did he? Well, you needn't worry. The second is--(gets shot by Bond)
Bond: Yes. Considerably.

Dryden: [Discussing Bond's first kill] Made you feel it, did he? Well... not to worry. The second is-
*pew*
Bond: ...Yes. Considerably.

  • Kiss of Life: Bond tries this on Vesper. It doesn't work and quickly turns into a heartbreaking Last Kiss.
  • Kneecapping: Casino Royale ends with Bond locating and knee-capping The Man Behind the Man.
  • Kung Shui
  • Le Parkour: The original creator of parkour plays a bomber running away from Bond. The bomber uses parkour, whereas Bond takes somewhat more of a direct route...
  • The Man Behind the Man: Alex Dimitrios to the parkour bomber, then Le Chiffre to Dimitrios and Mr. White to Le Chiffre. Continues on into Quantum of Solace, where more men behind Mr. White are revealed.
  • Manservice: Bond climbing out of the ocean. Many jaws dropped.
    • For the more traditional fanservice: Why is that woman in a bathing suit riding a horse on a beach?
  • Meaningful Echo: "Money isn't as important as knowing who to trust": What Le Chiffre says to Dimitiros when he reminds him what's important in their organization and also the last sentence he hears before a SMERSH/QUANTUM agent kills him.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: An early scene has people watching a fight between a mongoose and a cobra... except the mongoose is actually a ferret.
  • Mobstacle Course: The Le Parkour villain does this when he wants to be a jerk.
  • Mood Whiplash: During the exceptionally brutal torture scene, Bond informs Le Chiffre that he has an itch "down there". The villain takes another whack at the poor man's family jewels while Bonds screams: "No, no! To the right! To the right!" before breaking down into hysterical laughter/tears and exclaiming: "Now the whole world's gonna know you died scratching my balls!"
  • Mythology Gag: Vesper's introduction to Bond references Miss Moneypenny, who does not appear in the film. Later in the film, a bartender asks him whether he prefers his martini shaken or stirred, but Bond is too frustrated at the moment to care and snaps, "Do I look like I give a damn?"
    • And on their way to the Casino, Bond jokingly tells Vesper her alias is "Stephanie Broadchest", referencing the naming style of Bond girls like Pussy Galore, Honey Ryder and Kissy Suzuki.
    • When M chastises Bond early in the movie, she mentions "Christ, I miss the Cold War," a callback to her character's introduction in GoldenEye, where she chastises Bond (played by Pierce Brosnan) for being a "relic of the Cold War."
    • Also Bond wins a classic Aston Martin DB5, which is one of the best known cars from the older movies.
    • Can anyone say "Two measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lilet, shaken well over ice until chilled, and served with a thin slice of lemon"?
  • Nail'Em: Gettler attacks bond with a nail gun in the climax. It appears to have rapid fire function.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: Avoided until the last scene. Complete with the Leitmotif.
  • Never Bring a Knife to A Fist Fight: Bond can handle the guy with a machete.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: You see Bond kissing Vesper in the sea in the poster up there? The scene, which also appears in the trailer, is not in the movie.
  • Parking Payback: Bond is mistaken for a member of the resort staff and ordered by a guest (with extreme condescension) to park his car. He does so -- by backing it forcefully into a parking barrier, setting off many car alarms. This is not just for kicks and giggles; it's a handy distraction as well so Bond can get a good look at the hotel's security footage. Gets a Brick Joke when the guest spots Bond later that night, double-taking in surprise.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: While obviously more well-known and popular, Texas Hold-Em is also far more of a psychological warfare game than Baccarat.
  • Product Placement: Lots, especially for Sony. The most bizarre one has to be the hotel that stores its surveillance camera footage on Blu-ray discs...
    • Also, Vesper brings up James's watch when evaluating his personality, which he corrects her Rolex guess to Omega. The marketing for the film also included Omega ads involving Bond.
  • Race Lift: Felix Leiter (a blond Texan in the novels) is black in this movie and in Quantum of Solace (played by Jeffrey Wright). Incidentally, before Wright the actor playing Leiter had changed with every film; only one actor (David Hedison) had ever reprized the role, and his two appearances were non-consecutive and 16 years apart (there was a black Leiter prior to Wright: Bernie Casey in the non-canonical Never Say Never Again).
  • Railing Kill: Bond throws a bodyguard over a stairwell railing before fighting Obanno.
  • Rated "M" for Manly
  • Red Right Hand: As many Bond villains do, most of the bad guys have one.
  • Rewind, Replay, Repeat: Bond checks the security tapes at the Ocean Club.
  • Road Trip Across the Street
  • Rule of Cool: Bond wins the card game, against master poker players, not by outplaying them or by some great strategy, but because he gets a straight flush at the exact right moment in the ideal situation, where everyone else stays in because they all happen to have hands that are near impossible to beat (as opposed to folding when they realize Bond probably has a good hand, which would be the typical outcome), which has even more ridiculous odds. The only reason the audience does not question what is nearly mathematically impossible is that Bond getting a straight flush is flippin' cool.
    • Nearly mathematically impossible, yes, but ask any card player about their worst bad beat, and it'll sound almost exactly like Le Chiffre's. The odds of quad aces losing a hand are effectively zero, and yet it happens.
  • Scenery Porn: Southern Europe is gorgeous.
  • Sequel Hook: So much that the opening scene of Quantum of Solace continues right after Bond gets Mr. White.
  • Sherlock Scan: Bond and Vesper do this to each other on the train.
  • Shirtless Scene: Oh, yeah.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: It sure took a long time for Bond and Vesper to go to Italy just for her to betray him and die.
  • Shower of Angst: Vesper takes one fully clothed while Bond tries to comfort her.
  • Show Some Leg: To give Bond an advantage in the poker game, he gets Vesper a very low-cut dress. It backfires somewhat - Bond ends up just as distracted, especially since Vesper intentionally ignores his instruction to walk up behind him and instead approaches from the other side of the table so that he can see her coming.
  • Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb
  • Staggered Zoom: At the start of the airport chase sequence.
  • The Stoic: James Bond, as mentioned above.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Bond gets poisoned and has to defib himself. Ouch.
  • Theme Music Withholding: Done so very well.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Vesper goes through this during her Shower of Angst, after she's involved with Bond's confrontation with the African warlords.
  • Throw-Away Guns: A bad guy throws his empty gun at Bond, who promptly catches it and throws it back. Into his face. The clip is #7 of Cracked.com's "The 17 Most Unintentionally Hilarious Movie Fight Scenes".
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Not really, but invoked by Bond as part of being Defiant to the End. He asks Le Chiffre to scratch an itch for him.
  • To the Pain: "You know, I never understood all these elaborate tortures. It's the simplest thing... to cause more pain than a man can possibly endure." (then comes the Groin Attack mentioned above)
    • This also may be a Take That Mythology Gag referring to the fairly elaborate torture scenes from prior Bond movies, most notably the laser cutting table in Goldfinger.
      • But that wasn't a torture scene in Goldfinger. He didn't expect him to talk, he expected him to DIE!
  • Tragic Hero: The novel is written basically as a tragedy, showing Bond's downward spiral of failure and futility. As a spy, he's clearly in over his head and only succeeds in a technical sense through sheer luck and outside intervention. It's only after he loses everything, including Vesper, that he embraces his profession as a super-spy.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailers for the film include the very last shot of the film, with Bond in the very nice suit and vest while carrying a silenced submachine gun. They do leave out the context and the line that makes that scene so awesome though.
  • Try and Follow: Bond chasing after the bomber.
  • Two Decades Behind: Definitely an example of Pandering to the Base. The recipe for the martini variant Bond names after Vesper Lynd is taken word-for-word from the novel. The problem is, Lillet stopped making one of its ingredients, Kina Lillet, in 1986, replacing it with a reformulated Lillet (sans the quinine that gave it the "Kina" part of the name) called Lillet Blanc. But the film is set in the present-day, and mentions Kina Lillet by name (this also shows up in Quantum of Solace).
  • Viewers are Morons: Baccarat is changed to the more popular Texas Hold 'Em, which was enjoying a surge of popularity in mid-decade.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Le Chiffre's "You! Are SO WRONG!!"
  • Watch the Paint Job: The effects crew managed to rotate Bond's Aston Martin 7 times for the scene where it's totaled. Makes any car fan weep, and it set a world record in the process.
    • On the DVD extra featurette about how they performed the stunt, they felt it necessary to include a disclaimer noting the car was specially reinforced and Do Not Try This At Home. As if the average person who buys an Aston Martin's first impulse is to see how many times you can roll it . . . .
  • What Happened to Felix Leiter Stepping In To Bring In Le Chiffre?
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Subverted. M gives Bond a severe chewing out for shooting the unarmed bombmaker and blowing up an embassy, but her main complaint is that he got caught on videotape doing it.
  • Why We're Bummed Communism Fell: "Christ, I miss the Cold War." (Consider too that this is the first Bond film explicitly set after 9/11 and world politics in Hollywood History terms is much more complex.)
    • It's also a Mythology Gag. When Judi Dench was first cast in the Bond universe, while chastising Brosnan!Bond about his trigger-happy nature, she refers to him as a "relic from the Cold War."
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Things take a sharp turn for the confusing after Bond and Vesper are rescued following the card game.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Bond, Happily Married? A beautiful dream, not gonna happen. Especially since it ended badly the last time it happened.
  • You Look Familiar: Poker game participant Madame Wu is played by Tsai Chin, who also played the Chinese girl Bond bedded at the beginning of You Only Live Twice.
  • You're Not My Type: In an exchange between Bond and Vesper.

Bond: "Don't worry, you're not my type."
Vesper: "Smart?"
Bond: "Single."

  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: The Big Bad has been defeated, Vesper and Bond do it, all is good... Vesper suddenly steals 120 million dollars to pay for her fiancé's ransom. And dies.
    • Again from the original novel, although the money isn't stolen there and Vesper's suicide is far more sudden.