Casino Royale + Trouble in Paradise


Double feature: After an hour or so of jaw-clenched globetrotting, “Casino Royale” evolves from a movie that has nothing whatsoever to do with the lighthearted, technique-heavy “Trouble in Paradise” to one whose parallels with that early confection become increasingly pronounced.

It’s the introduction of the Vesper Lynd character that does this.  Her Pandora’s box of backstory, banter, and charge blows open the stone-faced, commentary-free “business travel” of the first act and steers the film toward meeting “Trouble in Paradise” in the middle.

While remaining far apart in overall tone, the two movies converge upon the following common ground:
*inherently elegant protagonists exchanging rapid-fire dialogue in slinky evening dress
*machinations whose cool-headed pragmatics conceal fiercely emotional motives
*pleasantly jarring pacing, jerking forward in time and twisting until the last minute
*healthy lack of concern for narrative logic.

After their champagne has gone flat and their formalwear has wrinkled, what stays with you from these films is their shared triumph of original loyalties over new ones.  In both, primary allegiances are tested, perhaps even altered – but, crucially, ultimately unconquered – by new ones.

For a marathon: Keep traversing “Casino Royale”‘s intersection between romance and geopolitical ends with both “Inglourious Basterds” and “Fiorile.”

“Trouble in Paradise” shares “Paper Moon”‘s jauntiness and blithe con artists’ morality, and “The Lady  Vanishes”‘s witty whimsy and showy technique.

(Creative Commons licensed original images courtesy of “ReeseCLloyd” and “Muy Yum” at Flickr)

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