Why Casino Royale is actually more tragedy than espionage

The james bond The franchise has grown a lot since it first appeared in cinemas in 1965 Dr. No. Several actors have since played the character with their own unique styles that they brought to the character – from Sean Connery’s classic approach to Roger Moore’s campier turn that was filled with one-liners – but one constant has been that these films have remained stories of espionage and good versus evil. However, the years 2006 Casino Royale did something no other film had done; it brought a greater layer of tragedy to the character of James Bond.


Casino Royale wasn’t the first time the character faced the aftermath of a loss. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was the first instance where the dangers of finding peace as a spy led to disastrous ends. However, Casino Royale managed to show an inner tragedy that would follow Daniel Craig’s James Bond throughout its run, and to understand why it worked so well, it’s crucial to return to Ian Fleming’s novel of the same name.

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like the movie, Casino Royale followed 007 on a mission to take part in a high-stakes game of poker while trying to stop an international criminal and find the secrets of a larger conspiracy, but the book also focused on how James Bond behaved. Unlike his more humorous iterations, the initial version of Bond was a man who showed how isolated he was. He was a chain smoker who took cold showers and wore his distrust in his face. It was a face that only years of seasoned spy work could shape, and it handled with deadly precision, but the movie gave it to Bond much earlier in his career.


Having a 007 freshly baptized as James Bond, who already had the hardened habits of an agent, gave off the idea that he was sacrificing a lot for his work. Even at the start of the film, the job that gave Bond his status as 007 involved cold-blooded murder, but rather than fight those consequences, he did the act in cold blood and without a second thought. These moments would later appear in scenes of him protecting Vesper and himself from a group of attackers or even how little he cared about his death while being tortured. That said, the real tragedy in his story came when he faced imminent death and had to save his own life.


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At one point, James was poisoned while playing poker and had to apologize to try to save his life. In the end, he would have died if Vesper hadn’t saved him, but when he came to, he completely ignored reality and went back to his card game, asking if Vesper was okay. It’s a humorous scene that shows how he humorously masked the terrifying moment and probably didn’t care how close he was to dying. It would be a theme throughout his films, and James had no problem taking a life or losing his for a larger mission.


In the end, when Bond found happiness, it was quickly snatched away from him and led to a journey of revenge that once again nearly got him killed, but what did Casino Royale such a tragedy was how, with each murder, the public saw how hollow it was for them. He had trained himself to lose any humanity he had for a lifetime to others who would kill him. So while he’s widely seen as a hero, Vesper’s point of view also questioned whether this hero was more of a monster. No matter how many lives James took, what made Casino Royale more of a tragedy than a spy movie saw the hero of the story lose more of his humanity with each murder and loss.