After Bond is ‘rescued’ by Mr. White, he recuperates at some clinic somewhere in Italy (filmed, I believe near Lake Como, which provided some of the location shooting for Naboo in the Star Wars prequel trilogy). Here, his romance with Vesper starts in earnest, and he also has Mathis arrested (as he still suspects him of betraying them).
Bond seems to want to retire from the job, despite just being promoted to 00 status at the start of the film. But as with “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, Bond’s attempts to settle down and retire don’t work out (although, since this was based on the original novel, some could say the novel was the trendsetter). Hence, I think should the next Bond film pick up where SPECTRE left off, I don’t think his happy ending with Madeline Swann is going to go well.
They’re taken to Venice, but Vesper’s unhappiness and sense of dread returns when she spots this man, named Gettler…
Bond starts to suspect something is amiss when he learns that his winnings are not being returned to the treasury, but are being withdrawn by Vesper, to be given to Gettler. Feeling betrayed by Vesper, he tracks her to her rendezvous with Gettler-and a confrontation starts, with ends with a chaotic shootout in a sinking house in Venice.
Although Bond disposes of Gettler and his men, Vesper however is overwhelmed by the guilt of her betrayal and locks herself in a sinking elevator, drowning herself. It’s kind of a sad scene and somewhat horrifying at the same time, especially her pained expression as if she dies.
Although he’s able to free her from the elevator, it’s too late. Mr. White watches dispassionately from a distance; Bond calls M and we learn that Vesper was pretty much blackmailed into helping Le Chiffre and Mr. White by threatening the life of her boyfriend (the boyfriend in fact is an enemy agent who played the role, as revealed in the next film). Bond adopts a colder demeanor, but there’s still the deeper mystery of the organization that employed Le Chiffre. Thankfully, Vesper left one final clue-Mr. White’s cellphone number.
We then get the great final scene, where Bond confronts Mr. White as his villa, shooting his leg and for the first time, says the signature catchphrase: “The Name’s Bond, James Bond.”
Simply put, “Casino Royale” is a bold reinvention of the franchise, while also staying true to many elements of it, but giving them a sort of fresh look. It’s brutal action is quite a change from the artificiality of the Brosnan films, and Craig gives a great performance. Sure, he might not look as classically handsome as the other Bonds, but the Bond in the original novels was hardly a model-he was a man often haunted by his own inner demons, quipped and used gadgets far less than his film counterpart. Craig is also helped out here by a strong supporting cast, and even holdover from the Brosnan era, Judi Dench’s M, actually feels much fresher working with Craig (She is, pretty much, playing an entirely different M when you think about it).
However, Craig’s era would stumble a bit in the next installment-and direct sequel- Quantum of Solace, which went a little too much off the beaten path….that’ll be the next review though.