‘Casino Royale’ is, without a doubt, my favourite Bond film. There are numerous reasons for this, from the refreshing purge of tired, misogynistic clichés, to the introduction of a humanised 007 and the wonder that is, of course, always Judi Dench’s M. The driving force, however, behind my admiration for Bond’s origin story is Eva Green’s quietly devastating performance as Vesper Lynd. The accountant assigned to keep an eye on a rather reckless James; Green’s Lynd is a staggering mix of biting wit, emotional detachment, and vulnerability.
When we and Bond first meet her, she stuns us with a scathing psychoanalysis of cinema’s most-adored alpha male. Within minutes, Vesper strips James of his bravado and reminds him of exactly what he is; a lonely, self-interested misfit exercising his internal anger in violence on behalf of his country. And to think, some still believe that he was the smart one. Green gives Vesper a cautiousness, a protective layer that allows her to resist Bond’s charms, so, thankfully, unlike painfully two-dimensional caricatures of women that came with those outdated, earlier 007 outings. He, ultimately, is the one that falls at her feet. This reversal of traditional gender roles is essential to Vesper’s character in that she, as Bond puts it, strips him of his armour. What Green does, here, is beyond wonderful. She takes a character that could easily become putty in the hands of Bond and makes her a woman of power, of authority and of realism. Green’s performance is controlled, calm and executed with total confidence. In just one word, it is revolutionary.
by Hannah Ryan
Hannah is 19, lives in Cardiff and is into female protagonists, visually pleasing movies and Star Wars. Her favourite films include Pan’s Labyrinth, Casino Royale and Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy. She generally prefers dogs to people and you can find her talking endlessly about films at @_hannahryan on Twitter.