Headscratchers: Casino Royale (2006)

aka: Casino Royale
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    License To Kill 
If there were a WMG page I would have put this there, but this is the next best thing... It is really unclear how Bond could go from an agent with "no kills", as he is described in the Action Prologue, to the ruthlessly effective- we might even say "brutally" effective- killer he is only a little later. In real life, killing just 2 men doesn't transform most people that completely- and Bond clearly has experience doing what he does. It is almost inconceivable that he has never killed anyone before. Also, in Skyfall, we see that field agents like Eve are ordered to shoot people in the line of duty- and if she had killed Patrice, it would not have implied that she was halfway to "00" status herself. So, what exactly does the "License To Kill" or "00" status mean?

"00" agents in this mythology must be the ones who carry out assassinations for MI-6, as opposed to killing in self-defense or combat operations (obviously, you couldn't forbid a non-"00" to kill an enemy that was trying to kill him!). That must be the meaning of "kills" in the prologue; premeditated, targeted assassinations. It would also account for some of the disparities in Skyfall, where Bond is portrayed as a long-service agent, only 2 films after Casino Royale. So, Bond was already an experienced field operative before the events of the film, and had killed enemies in combat or self-defense, "in the rough and tumble of it" as it were; he just hadn't been sent on an assassination contract yet. It was his long experience that qualified him to be sent on an assassination- 'M' would hardly send a rookie, would she? And once you're a "00", with a license to kill, maybe you get to decide who needs to be assassinated on your own and tell 'M' about it afterwards? Which would be why MI-6 is so careful about promoting "00"s in the first place- because, as we see with Bond, once they have a license to kill, they may use it even when you don't want them to.

  • Yes, he's ex-SBS. You don't get that far without killing people in the regular British Army, let alone MI6. However in SBS they might have to do targeted assassinations... how this fits in with your theory I don't know.
    Bond and the media 
  • How does the news media know who Bond is and who he works for? Aren't they supposed to be top secret?
    • I thought Quantum leaked that information. Considering the depth of their contacts, they certainly knew who he was.
      • I dunno about this. At this point, Bond had already gotten the info he needed, and thus Quantum had little motivation to possibly tip their hand (pun unintended) by putting him in the doghouse for a few days. If M hadn't had her head so far up her ass during this movie, she would have realized that MI6 had at least one well-placed mole leaking info and done some plugging.
      • He was probably ID'ed by the embassy or its government, who would have been suitably pissed enough to seriously investigate . They or the native government may have also been aware that MI6 were conducting a sting operation on that guy (esp. if they caught Bond's partner), and someone leaked it. The media don't actually know who Bond is; they just know he's a British agent.
    • Also, are we supposed to believe that experienced high-stakes Texas Hold 'Em players would be so easily distracted in the beginning of the game by a single girl?
      • When that girl is the stunning Eva Green in a jaw-dropping dress, the answer is a resounding yes.
      • Further justified (somewhat) because at the time she enters, only Bond and Le Chiffre are playing, everyone else having folded. Yes, pros would be watching the last two play to observe their strategies, but it is understandable that they scope out Vesper as well.
    The decision to recruit Vesper Lynd 
  • I really don't get why MI6, after deciding to put Vesper in control of the money used in the game, didn't do a background check on her. If they had, they would have noticed that her boyfriend/fiance (I forget which) had been kidnapped and was being held for ransom. They probably would have realized that she was a weak link (as that fact could be used to manipulate her) and had her removed in favor of someone else. M does a Hand Wave by lamely stating that they sometimes get so focused on their enemies they forget to check on their friends. Thats a weaksauce excuse and she knows it. M and MI6 really do not come out of this movie looking too smart.
    • MI6 didn't decide. The Treasury put her in as their representative.
    • Justification: As revealed in 'Quantum of Solace' her boyfriend had not actually been kidnapped; he'd been a Quantum agent all along. The background check would have revealed nothing as nobody except Vesper knew this 'kidnapping' even existed.
    • Plus, Quantum of Solace shows the bad guys are very, very good at covering their tracks and infiltrating MI6.
    Vesper's plan 
  • So...the plan was for Vesper to be in charge of all of that money...w/o any oversight? Really?
    • She is the oversight. The one they don't want in charge of it is Bond, given his inexperience and the mess he'd got them into. Plus, she represents the treasury, who is funding the operation, and if she is their representative they aren't very impressed with the idea.
    Bond's pursuit of Mollaka 
  • Bond walks into the embassy and kidnaps the bomber at gunpoint. Couldn't he have just explained to the diplomat he was British intelligence, why he was there and escorted the bomber out?
    • Embassies don't work that way. In the most amicable case, it'd take hours, days, possibly weeks of red tape because the Embassy is treated as property of the other country, and if it's a non-extradition country, then Bond is SOL entirely. In the least amicable case, the diplomat won't even listen to Bond and have the bomber shipped back home never to be seen again.
    • Countries also don't just file complaints when a foreigner blows up an embassy, firing in the direction of that country's ambassador. It's called "terrorism", folks, and no country, no matter how small, would refrain from having the UN censuring the UK's ass, and there's no option for the UK to claim Bond wasn't employed by them.
    Bond's gambling skills 
  • How does MI6 even know that Bond is the best baccarat/Texas hold'em player in the service? do they have try outs? Is that part of their training?
    • I imagine they just do it for fun, and the higher-ups at MI6 asked around when gambling became part of the mission.
    • Why wouldn't it be part of their training? Poker requires a lot of skills that a secret agent finds invaluable: Reading people, controlling your own emotions, telling lies with body language, evaluating risks, and it's a common pastime for the sort of high-class playboy villains that Bond seems to always encounter.
    • As a member of the scecret service, Bond would face regular vetting, at least part of which would focus on his finances. So there'd be a lot of a conversations along the lines of 'Does Bond gamble a lot? Yes, but don't worry about his finances, he always wins'
    • In the book version its because Bond had had a prior mission that required him to work in a casino, so the Service had actually paid to send Bond for lessons with a professional card-sharp. Between that and the part where regular high-stakes gambling (that he doesn't go broke doing) would show up on his background checks, its entirely explainable.
    Death of Dimitrios 
  • Bond kills Dimitrios in the middle of a crowded museum, puts the body down, gives it a friendly pat on the cheek, and then walks out right in front of security. Nobody has any reaction to any of this. WHAT???
    • He kills him very quietly. Neither of them make a noise, and there doesn't seem to be any excess blood. That was rather the point of the exchange, that both of them had good reason to keep things quiet and out of the open.
    • Yeah, it's basically the same as that scene in Commando when Arnold snaps that guy's neck while they're in a crowded plane. The guy is dead so quickly and quietly that even if anyone saw it they don't know what happened. They just assume the dead guy is napping, and by the time anyone figures out he's dead Arnold/Bond is already miles away.
    M's real name 
  • Why would M threaten Bond when it appears that he is going to say her real name out loud? Even if someone eavesdrops, there wouldn't be much point in hiding it given the content of the rest of their conversation. Could it be that it is a really embarassing one?
    • I think it was mainly to make clear her point that it was classified. She instantly shut him up, so he knew how thin the line he was treading.
    • *puts on Doyle hat* It's, I think, also a nod to the audience that M's name will never be revealed in the canon. Much like how The Simpsons keeps reminding us that we still don't know where Springfield is.
    • I had interpreted as her being too angry with Bond over what happened in Madagascar to even care what he had to say at that moment and just wanted him to shut up.
    • M is the head of the entire British Intelligence service. Everything about her is probably classified. If an eavesdropper heard the rest of their conversation he would only have information about the specific operation they were talking about. If an eavesdropper heard M's real name then they would be able to find her home, her family, her friends, etc.
      • The real nameof the head of MI6, the actual SIS is not just public record, it's on their web page. The real "C" is Sir John Sawers [https://www.sis.gov.uk/about-us/the-chief.html]
      • Thats just what they want us to think.
      • That's the real MI6 though. In the Bond-verse, it would not be out of character in the least for MI6 to have a public face and a private leader.
      • I always assumed it was basically a joke, that her name was so ugly and embarrassing that she didn't want anyone talking about it.
      • In Skyfall it's revealed (in a Freeze-Frame Bonus) that her real name's... Olivia Mansfield.
      • Call me wacky, but I thought it was going to be sob story about how she was a Moneypenny style worker till her kids got killed by a bad guy spy. So she worked her way up to the top to make sure bad guy spies paid for her babies demise. Which lends a certain Mama bear aspect to it. Bond shuts up because he knows dragging up that particular story is a REALLY stupid idea.
    • Um, Bond isn't supposed to know her name, right? Just like how he's not supposed to show up in her apartment. So she prevents him from saying the name because she's annoyed that he knows the name at all. She's annoyed that he's breaking rules and learning secrets.
      • That's it exactly. Also, it's irritating that he's treating her as an intimate friend instead of his superior.
    Poker game finale 
  • In the final hand of the poker game, James goes all in, along with Le Chiffre and two others. Yet they clearly are all holding different amounts of chips. Bond takes everyone out in a single hand, which means he was the chip leader, which in turn means he literally can't go all in - he can only match the next-highest better. Furthermore, everything is put into the main pot. There should be two side-pots since you can only win an amount from each better equal to what you put in. This is obviously Artistic License since it would be more complicated to explain all that than to just have everyone go all in (not to mention Rule of Drama since it's more suspenseful if we think Bond might lose everything), but it makes any actual poker players scratch their heads.
    • Don't assume that every "actual" poker player knows the rules for Texas Hold'Em; or that they would know how it is played in a casino, or how the betting in a casino tourney works. That's no more valid than assuming that every Texas Hold'Em fan knows the rules of Chicago Hi-Lo. Breaking the narrative at that point for a dissertation on betting would not have been an improvement.
    • After the betting at the flop, Bond had $40.5 million, Le Chiffre had $39.5 million (the other two had $6 million and $5 million, and there was $24 million in the pot). If Le Chiffre won, Bond would be left with a meagre $1 million against Le Chiffre's $114 million; just losing one more big blind and he would then be out. So it was an important hand for Bond.
    • But you're right, the filmmakers left out the side-pots; probably so that they wouldn't have to explain that to the movie audience (and possibly because Bond was so rude to splash the pot). So instead let's say the croupier was keeping track of the side-pots in his head (after all, if Mathis could keep track of all the bets from where he stood, then surely the croupier could). The last poker scene can be watched here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9fyOFefirQ.
    Attempted murder of Valenka 
  • Why did Valenka stay with Le Chiffre after she very nearly had her arm cut off without a word of protest from him? Later in the casino, she not only helps him by poisoning Bond but doesn't even seem mad or cold toward him at any point. Hell, in that brief scene after he takes Bond for 10 million she seemed downright affectionate.
    • She already knew what kind of man Le Chiffre was before that, and is probably that kind of person herself. She and Le Chiffre are lovers, but that doesn't mean they are in love. She sticks around for the lifestyle, while he just wants a sexy bimbo to hang around him. They make it work.
      • Yeah, but why stick with Le Chiffre when there are plenty of rich men she could be with and live a considerably less dangerous lifestyle?
      • Because in the Bond 'verse All Girls Want Bad Boys. Dimitrios's wife expressly admits to it.
      • Also, he might have her murdered for it. Even if he doesn't really love her and isn't bothered about being dumped, She Knows Too Much to be allowed to live. And even if he decides not to kill her, he has far too many dangerous clients and business partners who might decide to kill her as a message for Le Chiffre for the same reason anyway. Its the trap of the full-time criminal lifestyle- not only is it pretty addictive, is also loaded with paranoia and very real danger. Lots of people will never let you leave.
    • It ties in with the film's general theme of being able to read people: tells during poker, a scene taking place in a museum showcasing various states of the human body, Bond being able to obtain various random secrets about M with everyone being totally mystified as to how he does this, Vesper completely succeeding in fooling everyone about her allegiances....the point is, Le Chiffre knew, probably from their body language, that they weren't going to cut off her arm, which is why he didn't even react. If this conversation had arisen after their attackers left, it would've taken him seconds to explain that to her, and when you consider how often she watches him own people at poker, it's entirely plausible she'd have no problem with it in hindsight. Probably the only reason Le Chiffre even looks distressed is because two large irate men showed up in his room.
    • I wouldn't overinterpret it. Valenka might have low self-esteem, or maybe she was written as a one-dimensional character without much development or motivation.

    "You Know My Name" 
  • All right, this has been bugging me for ages now. What the ruddy hell does the song at the beginning of Casino Royale have to do with James Bond? What angels has he seen, who is he replacing, and what merciless eyes has he deceived?
    • Don't know about those bits, but the "the coldest blood runs through my veins" is referencing the fact that 007 is an extremely cold-blooded Anti-Hero and "You Know My Name" is stating that James Bond really needs no introduction.
      • If "James Bond needs no introduction", why is there a reboot in the first place?
    • The "replacing" bit is obvious: Daniel Craig is replacing Pierce Brosnan.
      • While there's never much of a point in analyzing the lyrics of a Bond movie opening theme, the lyrics of "You Know My Name" seem to be about Bond's loss of humanity: "you might find out you're giving up something important by killing other people," "angels can fall from grace and you are definitely no angel," etc.
      • Oh. Yes, yes, yes. If we assume the singer to be some personification of moral decay, it makes perfect sense. Even the Merciless Eyes I've Deceived (the potholes illustrating why I've asked every James Bond fan I know) could be interpreted as the rather hostile viewpoint of society at large. Thanks a lot!
      • 'Angels falling from a height' would also seem to refer to Vesper, who Bond started out believing was beautiful and pure, and who definitely fell from grace.
      • The song makes the most sense if you imagine it is being sung by Bond to Vesper. He's describing her induction into the world of espionage from her comfortable world in the Treasury. "Arm yourself because no one else here will save you": Your reliance on others to protect you (the police, the army, the government) is pointless now, because the people we fight are ruthless beyond measure. "The odds will betray you": Vesper's death. "And I will replace you": By the next movie, you'll only be a memory, and I'll have a new Bond Girl.
      • It makes just as much sense if you think of it as being from M to Bond. Basically: "despite the tux and gadgets and flashy cars, you're just another grunt soldier I'm sending into the breach. One day your luck will run out and you will die, and I'll just send another soldier in without missing a beat or shedding a tear."
      • I always assumed the 'Angels falling' line was a reference to the ending of Casino Royale (1967).
      • A Fairly persistent memory, given that he drank 8 Vespers on the plane in Quantum of Solace.

    Magic defibrillator 
  • Why were the wires on Bond's defibrillator so lightly attached to the parts that they could fall out so easily? I know it was meant to be dramatic (Oh no! Bond's last hope has failed!), but that seems to be a major design flaw on a vital piece of equipment. What with every other piece of equipment in the film (not to mention the franchise) working perfectly, it seems jarring that this one should be poorly made.
    • Maybe they were yanked out by a spy. Those agents would know what to look for and where to look thanks to MI6 moles.
      • Which would be the shoddiest assassination attempt ever made in a Bond film.
    • Medical equipment is generally designed so that the parts that actually touch skin are easily detachable, disposable, and replaceable — because you want to swap the leads out every time you use the machine on someone else, so there's no risk of infection. It's the same reason the nurse changes the plastic cover on the thermometer probe right before she sticks it in your ear, and then ditches said probe cover immediately afterward.
    Leiter after the tournament 
  • What DID happen to Felix Leiter stepping in to take out Le Chiffre? I understand that Mathis might have done something, but as of Quantum of Solace, he's innocent. Felix isn't dead either, as per Quantum of Solace. What happened?
    • Le Chiffre died pretty much the same night the poker tournament ended - I've just thought that Felix and the CIA were too slow to act before Quantum got to him first.
    Death of Vesper Lynd 
  • Excuse my ignorance, but why did Vesper kill herself exactly? James did kill all the thugs and the coast was clear. To avoid prison/mend her guilt? Couldn't she have given some valuable information in terms of Quantum at least?
    • Guilt of betraying Bond which has probably been festering since he nearly got his man-parts obliterated trying to save her, possible knowledge of her boyfriend's death or true allegiance to Quantum, and thus making said betrayal entirely pointless, pick whichever suits your fancy. And no, with an organization as elaborate and secretive as Quantum I doubt she'd have much information of use.
    • Also probably the knowledge that Quantum will never stop hunting her and would definitely kill Bond to get to her, and that his MI6 training and contacts are small potatoes compared to their whole organization. She's trying to save both of them that suffering, in addition to her guilt.
    Le Chifre hosting a poker tournament 
  • Is it really a smart idea to challenge Le Chiffre at a poker's tournament just to scare him into going to MI6 for help? He was already out of money and desperate before the tournament and they knew where he was. Why risk him getting all that money back on a game reliant on chance? Yes, Bond is a good poker player but Le Chiffre is a mathematical genius.
    • Le Chiffre is the one HOSTING the game, MI6 isn't challenging them to a game. Regardless of whether Bond played or not, the tournament was going to take place - and then Le Chiffre would be heavily favored to win, and wouldn't be in trouble anymore.
      • Yes, the tournament will take place whether Bond participates or not. However, nobody in MI6 seems to imagine that they could just interrupt the tournament. We all know where it's happening, right? So call up a bunch of SWAT teams and get them to storm the place. They can arrest Le Chiffre and take him into custody, and there's no chance at all that he'll win his money back because there won't be any tournament. That's what they should have thought of.
      • That's really not how international operations work—you can't really send a team of armed personnel to break up something like that without getting the country's cooperation, and Le Chiffre had the local authorities there in his pocket. Besides, that wouldn't get them a deal with Le Chiffre anyway. The idea was to make him lose the money so that he would have to seek asylum with a government agency like MI6 or the CIA. If they just wanted him grabbed, they could have done it—what they wanted was to put him in a position where he'd have to cooperate and give them information about the terrorist organizations he has provided banking services to, believing that that's the only way he'll be able to stay alive.
    Le Chiffre and Mathis 
  • Why Le Chiffre lies about Mathis working for him ?
    • Just so he could further mess with Bond's head? (Proving that Bond Villan Monologues could also be lies) Although . . . if Mathis is innocent all along, who told Le Chiffre about where to find the implanted Microchip?
    • Because he uses Vesper as taunt-fodder so he needs Bond to still care about her.
    Le Chiffre's decision to host the tournament 
  • It seems foolish for Le Chiffre to attempt to recover his monetary losses through a game of chance. Even if he is a seasoned card player, it seems far too rash for him to risk his entire fortune (and life) when other more reliable means of recovering his investments exist. He certainly didn't earn his wealth and power by being stupid, and the Texas Hold'Em game seemed to be a very stupid move. So what gives?
    • What other means are available to him? I was under the impression that he had to raise $100 million fast. How's he supposed to manage that? It's not like he can just invest in a bunch of well-performing stocks and then wait around for 10 years.
    • Consider this: Le Chiffre lost $101.2 million of someone else's money by betting against the stock market, and lost the money in one fell swoop. He needed to replace the money as quickly as he lost it, or he's going to be tortured to death by some very angry clients. He's a mathematical genius. for him, a poker game is the most logical way to get the money back. It's either that or orchestrating a pretty major bank heist.
    What if.... 
  • What would happen if neither Bond nor Le Chiffre had won? I don't think any of the other players were Quantum members.
    • Threats, blackmail, and murder until Quantum got the money.
    • There is a Fan Theory that everyone at the table was actually undercover agents working for various foreign governments, though it isn't really based on anything. Certainly if Felix Leiter won things would have went the way they were supposed to, albeit for the CIA rather than MI6.
    Le Chiffre and 9/ 11 
  • M makes a remark about how after 9/11, investigations found a shorting of airline stocks, so when they bottomed out on 9/12, Le Chiffre made a fortune. My question is: what exactly would Le Chiffre's role in 9/11 have been in the Bondverse? Did he conspire with Al-Qaeda to carry out the attacks? Did he just profiteer off them? Or was it something else?
    • She never said it was Le Chiffre. It could have been him, or it could have been someone else like him. In fact she is referencing an actual alleged case- there were indeed accusations / speculations that bin Laden himself or someone else had somehow profited off of 9/11 in the way M is alleging, though page 4 of the 9/11 commission report into terrorist financing dismisses this claim. Nonetheless, its another example of the writers basing elements on the story on (purported) Real Life events.

Alternative Title(s):

Casino Royale