TV tip: "Casino Royale": Poker face with a penchant for monogamy: Sat.1 shows the first James Bond with Daniel Craig

"My name is Bond, James Bond": Only at the very end, after 140 minutes full of action, tension, psychological games and a broad love story, does the agent say his most famous sentence.

TV tip: "Casino Royale": Poker face with a penchant for monogamy: Sat.1 shows the first James Bond with Daniel Craig

"My name is Bond, James Bond": Only at the very end, after 140 minutes full of action, tension, psychological games and a broad love story, does the agent say his most famous sentence. There's a reason why he took so long to do this: in "Casino Royale", the film adaptation of Ian Fleming's first Bond novel, the hero first has to become who he is - a feared secret agent. The self-discovery here is even double. Just as the inexperienced James doesn't have the toughness of 007 from day one, actor Daniel Craig had to grow into the big shoes of his predecessors in his first outing. Despite all the concerns expressed in advance, he succeeded in doing this, even if there is still some room for development.

The opening credits of the film, in which the evil people of this world usually make sinister arms deals or forge murder plots in remote places, are entirely dedicated to the new hero. We see in documentary black and white images how the simple secret service agent Bond commits his first two murders. These are the prerequisite for an agent to receive his double zero and thus the license to kill. When the action begins, Bond has already become 007. Now he is equipped with almost everything he needs to survive the complications that follow. He will have learned what he still lacks by the end.

British intelligence is on the trail of a financier of international terrorism. On his first mission, Bond makes full use of his right to kill - and leaves a trail of blood from Uganda via Hawaii to Miami, where he at least thwarts an attack on a plane. In the meantime, we learned how Bond got his legendary car, the Aston Martin DB5 - he won it at poker. As a further trophy, he takes the loser's lover with him to his room. However, before things get serious between the two, Bond is already out of the woods. Previous Bonds would never have missed the opportunity to have a chat with the attractive Solange (Caterina Murino). The new guy is completely different: Here service takes priority, and so he leaves the beautiful woman alone - not without first ordering champagne and caviar "for one person", that's how stylish it has to be.

The heart of the film takes place in the casino in Montenegro. There, at the poker table, there is a big showdown between Bond and the terror financier Le Chiffre, played brilliantly by the Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen ("King Arthur", "Adam's Apples"). The two raise the sums to astronomical heights until $115 million is at stake. The actors pull out all the stops of their skills to convey the tension at the gaming table and to make the psychological tricks and bluffs of the opponents visible.

These are Craig's strongest moments. With his impassive, clear gaze, he is a poker face par excellence: so cool, so controlled! In the action sequences, too, the Brit proves to be a clear winner over his predecessors. It's been a long time since we've seen a James Bond with such a toned body on screen.

On the other hand, you miss the lightness and self-irony that has always characterized the Bond films. Humor doesn't seem to be his thing, and Craig all too often twists his mouth into a duck's nose. While his predecessors Sean Connery, Roger Moore and most recently Pierce Brosnan were real charmers, Craig always remains slightly cold in his contact with women. In "Casino Royale" he is only allowed one love affair - with the gorgeous Eva Green ("The Dreamers"), who embodies the tax officer Vesper Lynd. The fact that there is a lot of sparkle between the two is mainly thanks to the dialogues, which Oscar winner Paul Haggis ("L.A. Crash") also co-wrote.

When Bond develops feelings and admits to them, the action thriller briefly slips into a schmotzette, which slows down the pace and causes the tension to drop. The young agent has been hit so badly that he wants to give up his job for Vesper's sake and writes his boss M (great as always: Judy Dench) a resignation email. But towards the end he also learned his lesson in love matters. Once again, this Bond won't let his feelings soften him.

With the last sentence he confirms that his self-discovery is now complete.

“James Bond - Casino Royale” runs on October 22nd at 11:15 p.m. on Sat.1. Directly before that, the station shows “Skyfall” from 8:15 p.m.

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