Freed from the constraints of any trace of Fleming storylines, the new Bond film, though reviewed as mediocre, is an accelerated hyphenate, with a devious avoidance of the absurd gaudiness of the previous two decades worth of Brosnan/Dalton stupidity. Reviewers seem to flaw the film as being incomprehensible, but that's just their inabilty to keep up with the pace. They blink. Though not better than the Guy Hamilton/Lewis Gilbert days of early Bond, this is the best of the modern era (post 80's) including the previous Casino Royale. Flaws abound in the echoey/prediction cutting that seems to try to give the Bourne films a run for their money, and the staginess of a Port Au Prince dock setting is regrettable, but the film is rife with ruthless deaths, slimy North Americans (the CIA lounges like duchys at black tie fundraisers unaware, or worse, uncaring that they are being played), a perversely clever air battle that reveals darkened sinkholes that hides the core secret (a visual and aural node to Dune), and flowy, evervescent information graphics of MI6 that subtitle plot mechanics. Dennis Gassner's somewhat probable production design and Marc Forster's tight and uncampy direction fuel a consistent speed rush, his running time at 106 minutes is the shortest Bond in history (that is, if you mean the films). His shooting technique takes care to flood scenes with able mirrors and subtle reveals. Pity he squanders the death of Bond's only sex partner, a nod to Goldfinger, by crossfading her momento mori as an afterthought to the scene, not centralizing it. Is this squeamish? Daniel Craig now moves with the ferocity of a new Bond, there is no time for the fake rituals that peppered previous outings. The spectre of money and power ruling above borders and politics shades every crevice with deft nuances and the relations between genders advances slightly with true bonding occuring between the like-minded Bond and Camille who share a need for revenge. And the most important gesture happens to be a kiss.
Cleverness: Fire Ice Water and Oil play clear roles. Bond meets himself as a double agent and we are forced, if only for a split second to realize Bond is a destroyer who must be filled with self-hatred for all the deception he practices (he shares a necklace). A giant eye peers from the stage of Tosca during a scene in which Bond infiltrates a secret meeting of Quantum held by wireless audio among the peppered leaders throughout the audience. The gunplay that follows it is silently intercut with the stage play and not in that somber Coppola bullshit way. Characters actually stare into camera intentionally, for split seconds, identifying us with one of a pair of players. A private plane encounters a slight amount of turbulence and there is a moment of uncertainty shared among wannabees contrasted later with Bond and his partner who spend 10 minutes in turbulence hell. When the bland CIA operative tells Jeffery Wright's Felix Lighter that "you can't trust anyone," Felix shoots him a glance worthy of a cut to a million dollar waterfall. Bond's easiest escape seems to be from a CIA rendition team descending upon an open air bar. The finale occurs in a desert palace hotel with a mistaken source of its own destruction: eco friendly power, insidiously combining the lair metaphors of previous supervillains with our current design-media obsessions. Pity it cost 200 million. Bond's suits by Tom Ford. Trivia question: who played Bond first? Answer.