I saw the new James Bond film, Casino Royale, this week and I loved it. Yes, Daniel Craig has a body to die for, yes, the settings of Venice and Lake Como are gorgeous, yes, I got to see my favorite actor Giancarlo Giannini still looking fabulous, yes, Judi Dench is as amazing as always.
But it wasn't any of those things that made this a great movie. It wasn't the technology - actually, for a James Bond movie it was sadly lacking in that. It wasn't the women - for a James Bond movie, there weren't all that many women - two of them, and one of them is more than just a sex object. It wasn't the chase scenes, though I'm going to rave about one of them. It was - believe it or not - the emotional content of the movie. This movie is character driven and not plot driven - amazing.
Back to the chase scene. The beginning of the movie takes place in a small African country on the coast. Have any of you seen the documentaries on TV about the free runners? No. Let me tell you about them. In Paris, mostly, a group of young men and women got together and started running through the city - sounds simple, right? It's not. Because they don't just run through the city, they leap over tall buildings. I'm not kidding. They run and leap from roof top to roof top, they jump off bridges and race along railings 20 or 30 feet about the street. They're amazingly graceful and the free running is a beautiful thing to watch.
So, at the beginning of the movie, James is chasing a man who is obviously one of the French free runners - he leaps from rooftop to elevator shaft to construction crane and back. And it's gorgeous. It's probably the best chase scene I've ever seen and it's all (except for probably Daniel Craig's chase of him) real. Pay attention at the beginning of this movie, okay? Because you don't want to miss a second of this chase.
But the movie has much more to offer than this. Two Aston Martins, the original one, and a brand new one. Gorgeous clothes, gorgeous houses, gorgeous people, gorgeous everything.
It's the emotional intensity though that works for me. There's a scene in the middle of the movie that has to be one of the most tender scenes I've ever seen. It's almost worth the price of admission. And everyone's fully dressed.
Anyway, don't miss this one. I'm hoping to see it again because I'm sure I missed a whole bunch of things...