Meewella | Critic

According to P

Tag: Eva Green

QuickView: The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan (2023)

“I don’t insinuate. I am the King.”

Louis XIII

Since the invention of cinema, Alexander Dumas’ swashbuckling serial of adventure and intrigue has provided fertile inspiration for filmmakers. This decade’s update arrives as a two-part French epic, the first French adapation in over 60 years. Opening with a brawl in mud and rain, D’Artagnan begins his adventure by literally pulling himself out of a shallow grave, setting the film’s darker tone. Martin Bourboulon contrasts the grimy streets of Paris with the warm golds of the aristocracy’s furnishings. The impressive cinematography keeps action visible even in the dark, whilst maintaining a strcitly controlled colour palette, most scenes featuring only a single hue. At times the film subtly adopts D’Artagnan’s perspective through sound design and visuals, like the muffled audio as he recovers after being flung from his horse, or a nighttime ambush where we see only the blades of his attackers as they strike from off-screen. The biggest names deliver the most impressive performances — a brooding Vincent Cassel as the falsely accused Athos, and Eva Green vamping as Richelieu’s spy, Milady. Played straight (though retaining a dash of humour), the pacing may be a little slow for some viewers but I found this to be easily the most polished of The Three Musketeers’ recent adaptations.


Casino Royale (2006)

director: Martin Campbell
starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green
running time: 144 mins
rating: 12A

Casino RoyaleThe selection of Daniel Craig as the new Bond sparked an outcry at the idea of this blonde-haired, blue-eyed Bond. I was a vocal supporter having seen him carry Layer Cake and later his memorable supporting role in Munich. Now I expect even his most ardent critics to be floored by the transformation Bond has undergone in arguably his best incarnation yet.

Going back to his roots, we see in black and white the two kills that promoted Bond [Daniel Craig] to 00 status. M [Judi Dench] is clearly worried about his early promotion and arrogant recklessness, storming an embassy. On the heels of terrorist financier Le Chiffre, the banker is backed into a corner once Bond foils his attempt to blow up a plane. Gambling with his clients’ money, Le Chiffre is left with no choice but to win it back in a poker game at Casino Royale in Montenegro. Bond joins in, with the Treasury’s investment being watched by the alluring Vesper Lynd [Eva Green].

Bond scarredComparison can be drawn with the return to the Dark Knight’s roots in Batman Begins. Similarly the tone shifts to a darker, more gritty world. The action sequences are far more gripping for the simple reason that in contrast to the old clean, almost clinical, violence, now when Bond fights he gets hurt. After killing two men in a stairwell his white shirt is drenched crimson with blood, in later scenes we see his face scarred from earlier fights. The film pushes its 12A rating with two uncomfortably protracted strangulation scenes.

This is not to say the kinetic, unbelievable action set pieces, the staple of the Bond experience, have gone. Indeed it opens with a highly memorable le parkour free running chase through a building site. There are no car chases, although they do destroy a beautiful Aston Martin DBS. In its new-found realism gone too are the gadgets and Cleese’s Q, as well as Moneypenny. Much of the overt comedy is stripped away as a result although the subtler humour remains. The only link to the past is in Dench’s M and she is superb. She never tries to outshine Bond but her calm, staid composure is the perfect complement. As for Campbell’s direction, it has become quite clear that he certainly knows how to introduce a new Bond — he was, after all, the man behind Brosnan’s arrival in Goldeneye.

Bond and VesperThe villains are all competent yet standard. However Green provides one of the most fascinating bond girls to date. She is required to combine verve and depth in her character as well as luscious good looks, and she pulls it off fantastically. Verbally sparring with Bond, she is a refreshing change from vacuous tedium of the average “love” interest. She is also the pivotal point for Bond’s shifting character as we see Bond emerge from a shell and mature in this film. As he stares into the camera with those incredibly bold blue eyes at the end, telling us his name, we know he will be back and could not be happier.

rating: 3.5/4

"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

Up ↑