I have a confession to make. James Bond movies were never my thing. The idea of a suave, nigh-omnipotent spy and his improbable arsenal of sci-fi gadgets always seemed a bit too much. However, Martin Campbell’s 2006 flick changed my mind. This movie is full of twists and turns and doesn’t follow the standard narrative. The main character, excellently played by Daniel Craig, is a live wire that at times feels vulnerable, making him quite relatable.
Casino Royale is probably the best starting point for first-timers and a must-watch for every fan of the franchise. You can use this article as a side-kick that will answer questions about the cast, filming locations, gambling scenes, and where to watch it online. The synopsis in this Casino Royale movie review contains some spoilers, but it should give you an idea of whether you should dedicate two and a half hours to watching this film.
General Information and Ratings:
|Movie||Genre||Year||Director||Starring||Producers||Writers||Featured Song||IMDb Score||Rotten Tomatoes Score||Metacritic Score|
|Casino Royale||Spy, Action, Adventure||2006||Martin Campbell||Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, and others||Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson||Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis; Based on the Novel by Ian Fleming||“You Know My Name” by Chris Cornell||8/10||94% (Critics); 89% (Audience)||80%|
The Idea behind Casino Royale
James Bond has been a silver screen sensation for almost 60 years. Most people know that the famous character was conceived in the books of British author Ian Fleming, but not everyone’s aware that “Casino Royale” was the novel that started it all.
Eon Productions, the company behind 25 of the 27 James Bond movies released to date, gained the rights to Fleming’s original book in 1999. That’s thirty-seven years after the premiere of “Dr. No,” the first 007 film. In this sense, the “Casino Royale” movie was aptly used to restart the franchise and answer the needs of the modern viewer. It’s comparable to how the “Dark Knight” trilogy changed our perception of Batman.
You’ll hear cheesy one-liners here and there, but Craig’s interpretation of Bond is much more realistic, darker, and brutal than before. There’s a notable cut back on gadgetry and CGI elements, and the trite plot containing one central antagonist with looney ambitions of world domination has been erased. Although this is still an action movie, director Martin Campbell has rightly focused on the character of the newly-promoted 00 agent, which allows Daniel Craig to shine with his acting.
The Casino Royale Cast of Stars
As mentioned earlier, the lead role in this movie was entrusted to Daniel Craig. Much was made of his bulky frame and blond hair, which are uncharacteristic of MI6’s star agent. However, after the premiere, most fans agreed that Craig played the role exceptionally well, with comparisons to Sean Connery thrown left, right, and centre.
Other notable members of the Casino Royale cast include the lovely Eva Green as Vesper Lynd (the girl), Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre (one of the notable antagonists), Judi Dench as M, Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter, Giancarlo Giannini as Rene Mathis, Caterina Murino (Solange), and Simon Abkarian (Alex Dimitrios).
The Locations of Filming – Where Did the Action Take Place?
This movie is a true globe-trotter. It begins in the Czech capital, Prague, then ventures to places like Uganda, Madagascar, Montenegro, the Bahamas, the USA, Italy, and the UK. Or so would the producers have you believe.
Curiously, none of the scenes was shot in Montenegro, the country in which the supposed Casino Royale is located. The former Kaiserbad Spa in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, was used to depict the exterior of the building, while the interior scenes were shot in a studio. The Madagascar embassy and construction site are also fictitious Casino Royale locations. These scenes were recorded on New Providence Island, Bahamas, which was also featured in other parts of the film.
Here’s Where to Watch Casino Royale Online
In the UK, this Martin Campbell production is available on Amazon Prime Video. Alternatively, you could rent it for £3.49 or buy it for £7.99 on Google Play Movies or YouTube. The film is also featured often on television, so it won’t hurt to check your TV guide.
Regrettably, you won’t find Casino Royale on Netflix, at least in Britain. The US version of the streaming service does have it, so you could check it out if you have a VPN. Those who want to watch the film for free could sign up for an Amazon Prime Video trial.
The Plot (Warning: Spoilers)
Those still unsure of whether Casino Royale is right for them are welcome to read this short summary. We’re venturing into spoiler territory here, but I won’t reveal the conclusion and some major plot points to keep things interesting.
The story begins with a surprising black-and-white scene that shows how Bond earns his status as a 00 agent. Then, the plot jumps to Uganda, where a mysterious figure called Mr White acquaints Le Chiffre, a private banker to terrorists, with Steven Obanno, a leading figure of the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Obanno opens an investment portfolio with Le Chiffre, giving him cases stacked with cash. The latter then uses the funds to put a massive short on aircraft manufacturer Skyfleet, knowing that a terror attack involving the company is about to happen.
Bond learns about the planned act of terror and rescues the day at the eleventh hour. This puts Le Chiffre in a difficult position, as his calculated stock market risk turns into a disaster. The banker, who is also a chess and math prodigy with a penchant for playing poker, decides to recover the lost millions by holding a Texas Hold’em tournament at Montenegro’s Casino Royale.
The MI6 is tipped off about the event and puts 007 on a mission to enter the competition and beat Le Chiffre. The hopes are that further losses will force the villain to divulge information to the British government in exchange for asylum. On his way to Montenegro, 007 meets Vesper Lynd. The Casino Royale Bond girl is an agent for the British Treasury, which provides the multi-million buy-in for the tourney.
Now, we’ll proceed with an analysis of the gambling scenes. It’s best to continue with the next part after you’ve watched the movie.
Casino Royale Poker Games
“Don’t play your hand, play the man in front of you.” — James Bond (Daniel Craig), Casino Royale (2006).”
You probably won’t be surprised that high stakes are the order of the day at the Casino Royale Texas Hold’em tournament. The buy-in for it is $10 million, while the re-buy is $5 million. As for the small and big blinds, we’re dealing with $5,000 and $10,000, respectively.
During the first card scene, Bond’s objective is to discover Le Chiffre’s tell, a nervous tick that the banker exhibits while he’s bluffing. The two end up going head to head, with being the community cards. Le Chiffre pulls a full house (deuces over nines). Bond folds, losing several hundred thousand, a small price for spotting the tell.
The second time the two go head to head, we see on the board. 007 has King and Ace of Hearts in the hole (his hidden 2-card hand), which gives him a full house, the fourth highest-ranked hand in poker. Le Chiffre goes all-in, but Bond notices his tell, indicating a bluff. The agent bets his entire bankroll with the expectation of victory, only to be defeated by a jack four-of-a-kind. Initially, one assumes that the villain outsmarted Bond by faking his tell, but later, it is revealed that he was tipped off.
The protagonist loses it all. However, Felix Leiter, one of the other participants in the tournament, emerges as an unlikely saviour. He’s an undercover CIA agent who agrees to give Bond $5 million for the re-buy. The stage for the final poker battle is set.
On the final round, we have on the board. This time, four players go all-in, yet Bond and Le Chiffre have considerably larger bankrolls. Fukutu reveals an Ace-King-Queen flush, Infante beats him with a full house (eights full of Aces), while Le Chiffre trumps both of them with a higher full house (Aces full of sixes). Naturally, Bond goes last and shows a straight flush, bagging the massive $115-million pot.
- Did you know? James Bond and his blood-eyed nemesis played baccarat in the novel and the first “Casino Royale” movie (1967). Ian Fleming was a passionate gambler and adored this table game. However, poker replaced baccarat in the 2006 interpretation, as the screenwriters believed that Texas Hold’em was more popular and dramatic.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the Casino Royale Movie Theme Song?
The song that you hear during the opening credits is “You Know My Name” by Chris Cornell. The more traditional soundtrack is called “The Name’s Bond… James Bond” and was composed by David Arnold.
Who Is the Casino Royale Bond Girl?
Her name is Vesper Lynd, and she’s played by Eva Green. The two other pretty ladies in the movie are Solange (Caterina Murino) and Valenka (Ivana Milicevic).
Is the Casino Royale Movie Appropriate for Children?
There’s a fair bit of violence and a torture scene. Mild sexual content and partial nudity are also included. The film is rated PG-13, so it’s not recommended to watch it with kids unless they’re teenagers.
What Are the Casino Royale Filming Locations?
Casino Royale was primarily filmed in the Czech Republic, the Bahamas, Italy, and the UK.
Where Can I Watch Casino Royale Online for Free?
Your best bet is to go with a free 30-day Amazon Prime Video subscription. Netflix US also has the movie.