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The one where it all begins — again.The 21st film in the EON productions' James Bond film franchise and third adaptation of the James Bond novel Casino Royale. Ian Fleming had sold the rights to the novel separately from the rest of the series, which is the reason that it took so long for a proper adaptation of it.The movie is essentially a Continuity Reboot for the franchise, serving as an Origins Episode of how Bond acquired his license to kill and became the Tuxedo and MartiniBadass he is today. Due to Comic-Book Time however, it is still officially part of the same series.In the film's expanded first half, Bond earns his 00- status and tracks down a terrorist financier known only as Le Chiffre. In the second half, adapted from Fleming's original novel, Bond must win a high-stakes game of poker against Le Chiffre to bankrupt the criminal and turn him against his terrorist clients. Along the way, Bond is nearly killed twice, gets tortured by Le Chiffre, and falls in love with the gorgeous accountant in charge of staking him in the game, Vesper Lynd.The film also features several changes to the original novel in its second half, some of which have to do with the time period of the filming : The card game goes from Baccarat to Texas Hold 'Em Poker, the time period from the 1950s to the 2000s, the setting from France to a newly-independent Montenegro, and Bond from a Super OCDShell-Shocked Veteran to a WisecrackingSociopath, which makes the torture scene a different affair altogether. Lastly, the film exchanges Vesper's quiet final scenes and a long discussion between Bond and Mathis on the nature of evil for an action packed showdown in the grand canals of Venice.Casino Royale was noted for being Darker and Edgier than the previous films, with the fight scenes brutal and bloody, and the story hewing closer to a political thriller about tracking down the cash flow of terrorist organizations than an adventure yarn about a superhero secret agent saving the world from megalomaniacs using Underwater Bases, Kill Sats and pilfered nuclear weapons.Followed by Quantum of Solace, one of the few direct sequels in the Bond film franchise.Under absolutely no circumstances should you confuse this with the 1967 film of the same title.
This film provides examples of:
10-Minute Retirement: Bond sends in his resignation, but the death of Vesper makes him reconsider, keeping him at Her Majesty's service.
All Girls Want Bad Boys: Deconstructed with Solange, who married Dimitrios and suffered through a loveless, unhappy marriage. Out of spite, she hooks up with Bond, lamenting as she does that she had "so many chances to be happy" with "nice guys" but keeps on being drawn to "bad men" like them instead. Later in the film, her association with the man who helped orchestrate the bomb plot (Dimitrios) and the man who foiled it (Bond) are what gets her tortured to death.
Annoying Arrows: A nailgun version, after killing Gettler, Bond pulls out a nail in his back.
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.
Also, the acrobatic bomber (Sebastian Foucan) who Bond chases in Madagascar. Actually, in this movie a great number of the villains, if not all of them, are this. They lose against Bond, all right, but at least they put up a hell of a fight.
Batman Gambit: Mr. White. He finances Le Chiffre and sends assassins to terrorize him, forcing him to desperately focus his attention on defeating Bond in order to pay off his debts. This animosity strokes Bond's ego to the point where he blindly focuses on defeating Le Chiffre. Mr. White, then, puts Vesper (whom he is blackmailing as well, with her fiance) between the two men to mitigate their final confrontation, where Le Chiffre tortures Bond, giving White an opportunity to kill both (but he only kills Le Chiffre because only Bond knows the password to the account, and Vesper refuses to go through with the deal unless Bond is kept alive). This actually leads to White's downfall, after Vesper preempts this and leaves her cell phone with Bond before she kills herself, allowing him to locate White in the final scene.
The money the African "freedom fighters" give Le Chiffre at the beginning.
The poker winnings - although initially, it is a 'briefcase full of computer for transferring money', but the trope is definitely being invoked. (Later, Mr. White casually takes a real briefcase full of $100+ million away after the building collapses.)
Byronic Hero: Bond. This marks a completely different personality from the character presented in the franchise; however, he (mostly) returns to his iconic cold, calculating, womanizing personality in Skyfall.
Bulungi: In Madagascar, Bond storms the embassy of a fictional country named "Nambutu".
The Cameo: In the Miami airport scene, look very closely at who is in the metal detection scanner opposite the Skyfleet plane. Richard Branson decides to make an appearance. This got cut from airings on British Airways flights.
Earlier in Nassau, Bond exchanges appreciative glances with a sexy tennis player - Victoria's Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio.
California Doubling: All scenes that take place in Montenegro and the United States (except the actual airport runways) are actually shot in the Czech Republic (that is located in a different climate zone than Montenegro and Florida). Also, Madagascar in the opening is the Bahamas.
Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Steven Obanno is extremely angry at Le Chiffre for losing his money in the foiled attack at Miami, attacking him in his Montenegro hotel room. He tells Le Chiffre "I would take your hand, but you need it to play poker.", and briefly threatens Le Chiffre's girlfriend.
Bond and Mr. White do this to each other. The latter does this to the former because he needs the password to the account; the former does this to the latter at the very end, leading up to the events of Quantum of Solace.
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.)
Near the beginning is a scene with Le Chiffre playing poker. "I have only 2 pair, and you have a full 17.4% chance of completing your straight". Guess what happens during the big poker game... (Le Chiffre actually gets a Full House, aces full of sixes, and 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.
Chekhov's Armoury: The scene where Bond looks through the secret compartments in his car is a more low-key version of the traditional "Pay attention, 007. You'll be needing all of these gadgets before the film is over" scene.
Chekhov's Gunman: When Bond improvises his Drink Order (for what more dedicated fans will know is a Vesper Martini), numerous other players ask for the same thing. Only one player changes anything about the order, telling the barman to prepare his martini without the fruit. He later reveals himself as James Bond's brother from Langley.
Cool Clear Water: During the final action sequence, the water has the clarity of a swimming pool, when in reality, it should be murky, seeing as how a building (and one under construction, no less), just collapsed into it.
Vesper: I'll be keeping my eyes on the money, and off your perfectly formed arse.
Bond: You noticed?
Vesper: Even accountants have imaginations.
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). We discover in this film that, for example, to become a 00 Agent one must have at least two confirmed kills under their belt.
Dark and Troubled Past: Heavily implied with Bond. After Vesper performs a Sherlock Scan, she comments that his immediate assumption that she's an orphan is because he himself is one, and while he clearly had private education, he's likely from a poor background, so it was only by the grace of someone's charity. She also believes that the other students never let him forget this, hence the reason for why he has such a massive chip on his shoulder.
Demoted to Extra: Felix Leiter in the novel is in contact with Bond from near the beginning and doubles as The Watson. In the film, he only has a dozen or so lines, and the two don't meet until after Bond's been cleaned out.
Design Student's Orgasm: With a playing card theme, in the opening credits. Bond is also hit with flurries of cards and British £10 notes.
Determinator: Bond, whenever he's in chase mode. When going after the Parkour-adept bombmaker, he uses a bulldozer to smash through the obstacles.
Double Meaning: In the theme's lyrics "Life is gone with just a spin of the wheel" can refer either to the casino motif or a critical scene where Le Chiffre gains the upper hand while Bond is driving.
Double Meaning Title: The title can be taken as an allusion to the Casino Royale (literally "royal casino") where the poker game takes place, or to the "battle royale" (that is, a duel that can only have one winner) that takes place in the casino.
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)
Drink Order: Bond's first time ordering a Vesper martini is taken straight from the source material, right down to the waiter's pleased expression as he walks away.
Eye Scream: In the final gunfight, Bond shoots a thug in the eye with a nailgun. Ironically, the exact eye that is punctured by the nail was already blind (indicated by the opaque lense of his glasses), if not gone altogether.
Flashback Effects: Bond's flashbacks to his first kill are grainier than the present-day footage.
Foreshadowing: As noted on the YMMV page, Bond getting knocked from the tournament is treated by Vesper as a result of his reckless behavior, when in fact he was making a very sound call in assuming he would win the hand. It makes sense upon subsequent viewings why Vesper would refuse to buy him back into the game, and it's not because he's reckless.
Framing the Guilty Party: Mathis manages to get Steven Obanno's murder pinned on Le Chiffre's accomplice Leo, sending the terrorist on a one-way trip to the French slam. Nobody cares.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Dryden is shot, there's a brief shot of a portrait of him with his family, emphasizing the fact that no matter how you paint him, Bond is a killer.
Right after White kills Le Chiffre, in the latter's final shot, his eye starts bleeding. Overlaps somewhat with Ironic Echo, when Bond taunts Le Chiffre earlier in the film, "I won't consider myself to be in trouble until I start weeping blood."
Gaining The Will To Kill: Bond's discussion with Dryden (with flashbacks to a brutal fight between Bond and Dryden's contact) has shades of this. To be promoted to double-0 status, an agent must kill two people. The contact was Bond's first; the second is... *FWIP* ...easier. Considerably.
Grenade Tag: At the end of the sequence where Bond is trying to prevent the airport bombing, the bomber apparently gets away and triggers the remote detonator for the bomb — which is when he discovers that Bond planted the bomb on him while they were fighting.
Groin Attack: What Le Chiffre does with a knotted rope to torture Bond.
Has a Type: James prefers married women. They're less complicated.
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.
Historical In-Joke: When M talks to Bond about the financial loss Le Chiffre has taken as a result of his plot at Miami being foiled, she mentions how the CIA discovered he short-sold large quantities of airline stocks after 9/11, and when the stocks plummeted in the wake of the attacks, Le Chiffre made a fortune. Le Chiffre's MO is to short-sell companies' stocks, stage terrorist attacks on said companies' assets, then sell the shares at cheaper value, so this line seems to suggest that in this universe, Le Chiffre conspired with al-Qaeda to orchestrate the 9/11 attacks, or at the very least, he profiteered off of them.
The terrorist who tries to blow up a plane via remote detonator, only to find that Bond clipped the bomb to his belt while they were grappling.
In a less lethal example, before the poker game Bond gives Vesper a dress, stating that it is so she can draw the other players' attention from their cards to her. When she does this later, Bond ends up being more distracted than the rest of them.
Gettler is killed with the nail gun he used against Bond moments earlier in the climax
Hollywood Nerd: Le Chiffre is very good at math, a poker prodigy, and he has an inhaler.
Although Word of God has it that he doesn't need it for any medical reasons, he just gets off on the amphetamines.
Hostage Situation: Somewhat reversed, in that the hero is the one taking the hostage. Subverted again in that when Gettler tries to take Vesper hostage, Bond doesn't care what happens to her, because he thinks she's a double agent.
Dryden: How did he die? Bond: Your contact? Not well. [We see Bond knock the guy out by giving him a swirlie in a bathroom sink] Dryden: Made you feel it, did he? Well, you needn't worry. The second is—[Bond shoots him in the head at the point where Dryden would've said "easier"] Bond: Yes. Considerably.
Jack of All Stats: They make a point of establishing this about Bond early in the movie. He's athletic but can't match the Le Parkour skills of his quarry and has to use his brain, working the environment, to make up the difference.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Craig's Bond is shown initially as a cynical and tough guy. However that doesn't mean he has no humanity or he doesn't feel compassion or pity. The "shower" sequence says all.
Killed Mid-Sentence: Bond does this early in the film on his second confirmed kill, the one that earns him his 00 status.
Kung-Shui: The freerunner hops a fence, Bond hijacks a bulldozer. Freerunner flips through a narrow hole in a wall, Bond powers through the wall. Freerunner hops down several flights of unfinished stairs, Bond hops on a hydraulic lift and smashes the hydraulics. BOND SMASH!
Love Interest Traitor: Double example: this film has Vesper Lynd, playing along with Bond until she steals the money to get her boyfriend (who she's still in love with) back. However, it's suggested that she did fall for Bond as well, cutting a deal to save his life in exchange for going through with the theft. Bond's Roaring Rampage of Revenge in the next film culminates with the reveal that the original boyfriend is himself a traitor, seducing women with access to state secrets and using them to obtain and sell said secrets. Fortunately(?), Vesper's killed before she finds out about that facet of his personality. She dies thinking that she has at least saved the lives of the two men she loved.
Magical Defibrillator: Bond pulls one out after being poisoned. At first it looks like it's going to be used to treat actual fibrillation, for a change, but in the end it turns into a use-the-defibrillator-to-restart-a-stopped-heart scene after all.
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.
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 Quantum sends Mr. White to shoot him.
Meta Casting: The parkour bomb-maker in the beginning is played by Sébastien Foucan, one of the developers of parkour.
Misplaced Wildlife: An early scene in Madagascar has people watching a fight between a mongoose and a cobra... except the mongoose is actually a ferret.
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!"
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. Bond responds, "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 Golden Eye, where she chastises Pierce Brosnan's Bond for being a "relic of the Cold War."
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 Lillet, shaken well over ice until chilled, and served with a thin slice of lemon"?
At the Bodies exhibition in Miami, Demetrios' bag gets tagged number 53, in reference to Casino Royale's original publication year, 1953.
Nail 'Em: Gettler attacks Bond with a nail gun in the climax. It appears to have rapid fire function.
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.
Nice to the Waiter: Throughout the film, Bond is shown tipping porters, waiters and drivers serving him. As noted under Parking Payback, Bond crashes the car of a Jerkass guest who treats him rudely, and in the end, after beating Le Chiffre, Bond gives one of his newly-won casino chips to the dealer (and considering how much they were playing for, that chip probably comes with several zeroes).
It was one of the 500k franc plaques. Since Montenegro is an Expy of Monaco and presuming French francs, it converts to over US$100,000 at the time of this writing. It pays to give good service.
Non-Nude Bathing: Bond finds Vesper sitting fully-clothed under a running shower after she was attacked. Apparently the script originally had her naked, but the actress felt the character would have been too much in shock to undress so they went with that instead.
Overcomplicated Menu Order: The film puts a twist on the usual James Bond martini by having him order one consisting of: "Two measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it over ice and add a thin slice of lemon peel." And after four of the other people at the table decide they want one too, Le Chiffre sarcastically wonders aloud if anyone's interested in playing poker instead of drinking. This is also a Mythology Gag to a specific scene in the books. Bonds' order is recreated exactly, right down to the waiter's pleased expression.
Parking Payback: Bond is mistaken for a member of the resort staff and ordered by a very condescending guest 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.
The Password Is Always Swordfish: Subverted. Bond initially thinks "Ellipsis" is some sort of codename, but it turned out to be the letters corresponding to the number code on a door at the airport. Go figure. And later played straight, when Bond uses the numbers corresponding to "Vesper" as a password — the name of the woman he's got on his side.
Pineapple Surprise: A bomber tries to use a tiny keyring bomb attached to a fuel tanker to blow up a plane. After a long fight with Bond, the bomber triumphantly pushes the switch on his detonator...only to realize that Bond had attached the bomb to his belt loop.
Pragmatic Adaptation: While obviously more well-known and popular, Texas Hold'Em is also far more of a psychological warfare game than Baccarat.
Precision F-Strike: When Bond asks "why should I need more time," adding "the job is done, and the bitch is dead."
Publicly Discussing The Secret: After making contact with Mathis, Bond and Vesper proceed to discuss their secret mission in a café just off the town square. Mathis also brings up blackmailing Royale's chief of police, with none of the other patrons noticing any of it.
Race Lift: Felix Leiter (a blond Texan in the novels) is black in this movie and in Quantum of Solace (played by Jeffrey Wright). Leiter had previously been played by white actors in the EON films, although the non-canonical Never Say Never Again also had a black Leiter, played by Bernie Casey.
Railing Kill: Bond throws a bodyguard over a stairwell railing before fighting Obanno.
Ripped from the Headlines: Le Chiffre's plan to sabotage the test flight of a new passenger jet was clearly inspired by the troubles Boeing was having in getting the 787 Dreamliner ready for its first official test flight around that time (the 787 was originally scheduled to start flying in 2008, but due to technological issues, it didn't take to the air until 2011).
Road Trip Across The Street: After playing poker with Dimitrios at the Ocean Club, Bond invites Solange Dimitrios back to his place for a drink. She asks him if it's far, he assures her it isn't, and they set off. Seconds later, he parks the car — back at the Ocean Club, which is also where he's staying.
Nearly mathematically impossible, yes, but ask any card player about their worst bad bet, and it'll sound almost exactly like Le Chiffre's. The odds of aces full (or, better, quad aces) losing a hand are very low, and yet it happens. What's more, it's more likely to happen in Texas Hold 'Em because of how the game works. Given the cards that came up in the last hand, it would have been very difficult for any player in that last hand to fold, especially if they were low on chips.
Bond also tips over all of his chips when going all-in; in real life, this is highly annoying for players and dealers alike since it's easier and quicker to mark amounts when players keep their chips in stacks and shoving them in a pile is just a big messy headache.
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. Hell, if the movie didn't end 10 minutes before it did the whole thing would've been a Shaggy Dog Story; the trail to the case died, Vesper died, and Le Chiffre died without MI6 getting the information from him that they wanted.
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: At the end of the sequence where Bond is trying to prevent the airport bombing, the bomber apparently gets away and triggers the remote detonator for the bomb — which is when he discovers that Bond planted the bomb on him while they were fighting. Cue Oh, Crap from the bomber, and a sardonic grin from Bond.
Stealth Pun: Bond wonders why Vesper bought him a dinner jacket, and more importantly, how it perfectly fits him, to which Vesper says "I sized you up" on the train, not just physically but psychologically as well.
Super Cell Reception: Bond is issued a super-awesome SonyEricsson phone that could make calls from the most isolated places in the world, browse the Internet like it was plugged in with a 1024 kbps data link, with a GPS map that could follow tracker bugs. It follows in the tradition of Bond's obscenely advanced gadgets.
Technology Marches On: Cell phones, here probably intended to show how gadgets aren't necessary in the modern world. They looked terrific at the time (remember that GPS?) but amusingly, in today's smartphone era they all now look terribly out of date.
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. She didn't actually kill anyone, even indirectly (in fact, the action she's angsting over is technically the act of saving Bond's life), but she still has the symptoms.
Too Dumb to Live: The undercover Agent who keeps putting his hand to his ear, thus giving himself away.
Tragic Hero: It's 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.
The action in Venice, making it clear more than just post-victory celebration will occur there.
Tranquil Fury: Daniel Craig's portrayal of Bond. Even M is unnerved at how he never visibly appears angry.
Troubled Fetal Position: Vesper does this in a Shower of Angst. Originally she was supposed to be in her underwear in the scene, but she argued that, traumatized from seeing Bond killing several people, she wouldn't have stopped to get undressed.
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. Not only that, Diageo dropped the alcohol content of Gordon's Gin by about ten percent in 1992, meaning shaking it with ice (originally meant to drop the sky-high proof to something more palatable) would turn it into the "weak martini" President Bartlett decries the Tuxedo and Martini. 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: Mathis' job is to provide running commentary on the poker games in case the viewers get confused or don't appreciate when something is significant. The worst example is when Bond loses a hand, but says it was part of his plan to discover his opponent's "tell:" his eye twitches when he's bluffing, and he moves his fingers to his eye to stop the twitching. The next hand the villain does this right on schedule. The camera zooms in to make it obvious, but it's not enough. The camera then pans to Mathis, who says, "It's the tell! He's bluffing!" Thanks for reminding us, Mathis!
He also insists on giving a tally of the money on the table, which, given that he was talking to an accountant, was probably unnecessary.
Worthy Opponent: Vesper to Bond, after presenting him with a real dinner jacket.
Bond: It's tailored!
Vesper: I sized you up the moment I met you.
Xanatos Gambit: Regardless of whether Le Chiffre or Bond won, Mr. White was still going to get his money: Le Chiffre was desperate to pay off his debts and save his own skin, and Vesper transferred the funds to White's account.
You Can Always Tell A Liar: Figuring out Le Chiffre's tell is a key part of Bond's strategy in the poker game. He later tells Vesper that everybody has a tell, except her, which is foreshadowing that he can't tell she's been lying to him.