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Casino Royale (2006): 21th Bond Movie

Casino Royale is the 21st installment in the James Bond series and the first to feature English actor Daniel Craig in the role of agent 007 James Bond. Bond's mission is to beat the terrorist banker Le Chiffre in poker and compel him to cooperate with the British Secret Service MI6.

The film returns to the very beginning of Bond's career, when he had just attained the status of agent 007, which allows him to kill. Casino Royale does not follow the previous films starting with Dr. No and ending with the film Die Another Day. It's a kind of reboot of the entire Bond series. Initially, critics looked unfavorably upon the casting of Daniel Craig, a blue-eyed blond, as Bond (in contrast to his predecessor Pierce Brosnan), but even the most stubborn opponents had to acknowledge that Daniel Craig handled the role brilliantly.

Casino Royale is a gritty, fast-paced, and emotional Bond movie, and James Bond's image is perhaps closest to that of a real secret agent. For the first time in a Bond film, the traditional and beloved characters Moneypenny, MI6 secretary, and Q, the court inventor, do not appear at all.

Fans of gambling games will be delighted with the excellently crafted opening titles of the film, which use motifs of roulette and cards, but especially the big Texas Hold'em poker tournament, where Bond has to defeat the main villain Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen).

Plot of the Film

James Bond needs two kills to attain the status of a double-zero agent (double-O [doublə ou]) with a license to kill. Soon he gets the opportunity: he eliminates the section chief of the British Secret Service MI6, who sells secret information, and his contact beforehand.

Then Bond heads to Madagascar, where he pursues an international bomb maker named Mollaka. After a frantic and spectacular chase through the construction site, Bond tracks him to the embassy. He shoots Mollaka and damages the embassy, for which he later receives a rebuke from the head of MI6, M, for violating the only unbreakable rule of international relations.

In Mollaka's phone, he finds a message with the text "ELLIPSIS," which leads him to Alex Dimitrios, a close associate of the banker and financier of terrorists named Le Chiffre. Among his favorite investment strategies is so-called short-selling (also known as "selling short"; it's a technique where an investor borrows stocks, sells them with the expectation that their price will decline, buys them back at a lower price, and thus profits from the difference in prices; it's a speculation on the decline in stock prices) of financially healthy companies, which he then orchestrates a terrorist attack on, causing the stock price to plummet.

Bond travels to the Bahamas to confront Alex Dimitrios. He first beats him in poker for money and a car and eventually seduces his wife Solange. After a phone call with her husband, she tells Bond that she is heading to Miami. Unfortunately, she pays for it with her life later on.

Bond immediately disappears from her house, kills Dimitrios at Miami airport, and tails another one of Le Chiffre's men – Carlos. Carlos was tasked with destroying the prototype of a new Skyfleet aircraft to crash their stock price. Bond foils his plan – blowing up the aircraft using a tanker. Bond is arrested by the Miami police in front of Carlos. Carlos triggers an explosive device, but Bond had managed to attach it to his belt during the scuffle.

As a result of the botched operation, Le Chiffre suffers significant financial losses, which could not escape the notice of his clients, who are terrorists. Le Chiffre, a brilliant mathematician and excellent poker player, therefore decides to organize a high-stakes tournament in Texas Hold'em poker in Montenegro – hoping to cover his own and others' losses. The British Secret Service MI6 hopes that if Le Chiffre loses, he will agree to cooperate in exchange for protection from his creditors. Therefore, MI6 sends Bond, posing as a wealthy playboy, to the tournament to beat Le Chiffre.

There's a lot at stake. If Bond were to fail, the British government would become one of the largest sponsors of terrorism themselves. The interests of the British government – and the buy-in of $10 million into the tournament – are to be protected by Treasury employee Vesper Lynd, with whom Bond travels by train to Montenegro.

Upon arrival at the hotel, Bond meets with the local MI6 contact Rene Mathis. Bond confides in him that he can read Le Chiffre's body language during the game. However, Bond loses the following big game and loses all his chips. Each player still has the opportunity to buy additional chips (rebuy) worth $5 million.

However, Vesper does not believe Bond could beat Le Chiffre and refuses to give him more money. Frustrated, Bond decides to kill Le Chiffre. Before he can do so, however, another player introduces himself to him as Felix Leiter, a CIA agent, and offers to stake Bond in exchange for CIA being allowed to arrest Le Chiffre. Leiter is consistently losing and, unlike Bond, has no chance of beating him.

Bond is back in the game and gradually accumulates chips. Le Chiffre attempts to kill Bond through his girlfriend Valenka, who spikes Bond's drink with poison. Bond manages to make his way to his car, where he has a specially equipped first aid kit. He faces the threat of cardiac arrest and must revive himself according to the instructions. The disconnected wire foils this, but luckily Vesper finds it and revives Bond. Bond wins the big final game and becomes the winner of the entire poker tournament. The winnings are to be deposited into an account in Switzerland.

Shortly after the tournament, Le Chiffre kidnaps Vesper and uses her as bait to capture Bond. Le Chiffre tortures Bond to get the password to the bank account with the winnings. After Bond says he will never reveal the password, Le Chiffre loses patience with him. However, shortly thereafter, Mr. White enters the room and kills Le Chiffre.

Bond wakes up in a hospital near Lake Como in the presence of Vesper. Mathis is arrested at Bond's request, as Le Chiffre had labeled him as a double agent. Bond is willing to give up his career as an agent for Vesper and sends his resignation to M. They travel together to Venice, where Bond discovers that the winnings were not deposited into the Treasury account. Since Vesper has disappeared from their room, Bond realizes he has something to do with it. He pursues her and the man to whom she handed the money to an old building with air cushions holding it above water. During the shootout, the air cushions are damaged, and the building starts to sink. Bond neutralizes the man, but Vesper locks herself in an iron cage elevator and drowns. Mr. White leaves with the money.

Bond returns to duty and learns from M how everything unfolded. Initially, he thought Vesper had betrayed him. Vesper had a boyfriend of French-Algerian descent, whom the organization behind Le Chiffre and Mr. White kidnapped to blackmail Vesper. She agreed to give them the money in exchange for Bond's life. Bond finds a message with a name and number for Mr. White on her phone, tracks him down, and shoots him. In doing so, he introduces himself with his classic "The name's Bond, James Bond," ending the film Casino Royale.

Bond Song

You Know My Name, performed by the talented Chris Cornell, stands as a remarkable addition to the Bond franchise, perfectly complementing the gritty and introspective tone of Casino Royale. Cornell's powerful vocals and raw energy infuse the song with a sense of urgency and intensity, mirroring the complex emotional journey of James Bond as he navigates betrayal, love, and high-stakes espionage.

From its haunting opening chords to its explosive crescendo, the song encapsulates the essence of the film, capturing Bond's evolution from a reckless rookie to a seasoned agent with a license to kill. Cornell's evocative lyrics delve deep into Bond's psyche, exploring themes of identity, duty, and moral ambiguity with poetic insight and emotional resonance.

The song's rock-infused sound and anthemic quality set it apart from traditional Bond themes, signaling a departure from convention while still paying homage to the franchise's rich legacy. Its inclusion in Casino Royale marked a bold new direction for the series, ushering in a new era of Bond films characterized by gritty realism and psychological depth.

With its unforgettable melody and electrifying energy, You Know My Name remains a standout track in the Bond canon, earning praise from fans and critics alike for its innovation and artistry. Cornell's soulful performance and the song's thematic resonance ensure its enduring appeal, cementing its status as a modern classic in the world of cinema and music.



Role in the Film Actor Description of the Role
James Bond Daniel Craig British secret agent 007.
Le Chiffre Mads Mikkelsen Main villain, terrorist banker, and excellent poker player.
Vesper Lynd Eva Green Employee of the Treasury, with whom Bond falls in love and for whom he resigns from his position as a secret service agent.
Solange Dimitrios Caterina Murino Wife of Alex Dimitrios, seduced by Bond.
M Judi Dench Head of MI6.
Rene Mathis Giancarlo Giannini Bond's contact during the poker tournament in Montenegro.
Felix Leiter Jeffrey Wright CIA agent playing poker with Bond.
Alex Dimitrios Simon Abkarian Le Chiffre's associate.
Mr. White Jesper Christensen Member of a secret criminal organization and Le Chiffre's associate.
Valenka Ivana Milicevic Le Chiffre's mistress.
Mollaka Sébastien Foucan A bomb maker with a burned face, pursued by Bond in Madagascar.
Carlos Claudio Santamaria Terrorist tasked with blowing up the prototype of a new aircraft at Miami airport.

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Based on the original Czech article: Casino Royale (2006) – 21. bondovka.