Casino Royale – Micro Analysis Essay

In the opening pre-title sequence of Casino Royale (2006,) directed by Martin Campbell, which is shot in black and white (the rest of the film is in colour), Bond meets with a co worker in Prague, Czech Republic, in an office setting. The scene is set at night, perhaps suggesting a suspicious or dangerous event is about to occur. The scene is presented with a flashback of a fight scene that takes place in a public toilet.

Within the office setting, a prop used by Dryden, the deflected spy, are his leather gloves; he takes them off perhaps suggesting an arrogant confidence about the situation as he feels he does not need to wear them as he feels in control. Other props include a desk placed between the two men meeting; this creates a barrier, suggesting their differences in roles. Other props are the chairs and a lamp suggesting the setting they are in is a professional office. Dryden’s draw is storing the gun he attempts to shoot Bond with, which creates an air of mystery as it is more unexpected as it is pulled out of a draw.

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A significant prop is the gun; it is used to assert authority and create fear and suspense amongst the audience. During the flashback, in contrast with the previously seen gun, Bond instead uses the toilet’s facilities for the killing of the victim, thus making the scene particularly brutal, as he is using strong material to kill his victim. The scene is particularly violent, and Bond kills him by smashing the victim’s head on a mirror and a sink, then using another sink to drown him, this, in turn, creates more suspense for the audience and makes it particularly graphic.

There also appears to be photo frames hanging in the bathroom; they are black and rectangular. The black and the angular shape suggest something evil as opposed to soft, bright colours and rounded edges. The use of the bathroom as the place of murder is also interesting, a bathroom is a familiar environment to many viewers and for a killing to take place in one, it adds an element of realism to the viewers. It is also quite intimate as it is as invasion of privacy. The narrative is told from Bond’s point of view.

The start of the scene begins with a long shot of the office block, which establishes the setting and the arrival of Dryden; it is then followed immediately after with a low angle shot of Dryden before he enters the office block. This signifies authority as the shot makes him appear larger, thus more important. As he waits in the lift, a close up shot is used of the floor level he is entering. The levels follow, ‘3, 4, 5, 6. ‘ This appears much like dynamite counting down to explode, which is another weapon of destruction and murder, implying a death scene is going to occur.

Upon entering the offices the shots are generally medium close ups which captures the actors’ faces effectively. However, during the toilet scene an aerial shot is used to present the fight; this enables the audience to see the action thoroughly. A low angle shot is also used during the fight which makes Bond appear large and therefore asserts his authority within the film. Nearing the end of the fight where the victim appears dead, a close-up is made of Bond showing his facial expressions, presenting his anger.

The lighting used in the office is very low key, and lit in a film noir style. With this film noir style, it has connotations of death, mystery and betrayal. Both men have their faces half in shadow, suggesting two sides to their characters, also implying they are villainous people. Although, a lamp on the desk is placed near to when Dryden attempts to shoot Bond; this illuminates the gun and shows its potential danger. The toilet scene, however, is high key lighting, which allows the audience to fully capture the scene and therefore absorbing the brutality of the attack.

It is also perhaps somewhat over exposed. The colour palette used is black and white, although significantly, the only time colour appears is at the very end of the sequence with red blood dripping down the screen, showing that it is a signature Bond film. The performance is significant in portraying the characters. For example, in the office, Bonds shows little emotion towards shooting Dryden, this is particularly significant when Dryden is talking and Bond interrupts and shoots him showing how insignificant he is to Bond, and, in turn, showing his lack of remorse.

Dryden, however, exhibits his emotions slightly different as he tries to shoot Bond but as he realises the gun is not loaded, his smirk turns to a fear stricken face, showing that although he is an authoritative character, he cannot hide his fear as realisation sets in. Bonds lack of remorse is also evident in the toilet scene as he brutally beats his victim. This is shown as he continually beats his victim, implying he is gaining pleasure to do so. It is also presented at the end of the attack as he stands over the body and stares at it as if he is absorbing the power and authority.

As the victim in the toilet scene awakes after fooling Bond, he attempts to shoot Bond, although Bond is aware and instantly turns back round to shoot the victim dead. This implies he is aware and alert, thus presenting him as a calculated person. Costume is important to show differences between characters. For example, in the office scene, both Bond and Dryden are wearing dark formal clothing. Bond’s clothes, however, are in shadow, therefore presenting him as a mysterious character.

Dryden is similar, although the audience can see he is wearing a long black coat, a tie and a hat. The hat is particularly significant as it conceals his identity slightly, which makes him appear mysterious, also. Additionally, they appear to wear a uniform as they are very similar, perhaps suggesting a gangster mafia theme. However, during the toilet scene, the victim is wearing more casual clothing, showing his lower status than Bond. He is also wearing lighter clothing, showing he is a victim and perhaps will die. It also presents him as a lower status character.

Sound is effective in dramatizing the scenes, for example, silence is used upon entering the office with little dialogue; this creates tension amongst the audience. Amongst the silence, Dryden’s footsteps are magnified which further adds to the tension as the audience comprehend a sinister event is going to occur. The toilet scene is then suddenly loud in comparison to the office scene which is alarming for an audience. During the toilet scene, there is high pitched squeaking sounds, perhaps violins, this creates an eerie atmosphere.

Diegetic sounds are punching during the brawl, and heavy breathing and general destruction of the bathroom, which intensifies the scene. At the end of the killing, the water is trickling from the sink which creates a calming effect, signifying the vicious fight is over. The last sound used in the scene, is the James Bond theme, which automatically informs the audience of the film to come. The film noir style lighting, the costumes and other factors effectively present the style of film during the opening sequence.

These inputs help to establish the film to come and present Bond as the main character. Bond’s character is also portrayed as villainous and callous by the use of his performance in particular; he shows little remorse for his killings and the audience are immediately informed that it is a Bond film as the signature Bond theme tune closes the opening sequence. The little sound used helps to create suspense and captures the audience in as the shooting of Dryden comes as a shock; and in turn, releases the suspense. The lighting is atmospheric as it sets the scene by the black and white colour palette.

This makes a sinister feel as it casts dark shadows over the characters’ faces and bodies; creating a mysterious effect. Overall, the two parts of the opening sequence contrast greatly as the office scene is dark and eerie whereas the bathroom scene is vivid and loud. This places greater emphasis on each part, showing their differences. Particularly on the office scene as in the bathroom scene there is a lot of action which further highlights the suspense and anticipation used in the office scene. The main editing of the overall scene cuts between the current scene and a flash back.

However there are other aspects, such as during the bathroom scene, there is very fast paced shots, lasting just seconds between each shot. This further adds to the fast paced action of the fight and therefore creates a crescendo which builds up to a climax where Bond finally kills his victim. Although during crucial points of the fight, for instance, Bond drowning his victim, the shots are slightly longer, therefore allowing the audience to absorb the most important parts. By contrast, the office scene shots are much longer which creates tension and fits the scene better as there is little violence up until the shooting.


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