Focus Of The Week: René Mathis

Focus Of The Week: René Mathis

A look at Bond’s ally

In Casino Royale, René Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini) is 007’s (Daniel Craig) contact in Montenegro. Unable to outbid international criminal Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) for the Chief of Police’s services, Mathis arranges for the Chief’s arrest.

Mathis gives Bond a bugging device that Bond slips into Le Chiffre’s inhaler. Mathis also knows the rules of Texas Hold ‘Em poker well enough to explain the game to Treasury official Vesper Lynd (Eva Green).

When Bond tries to rescue the kidnapped Vesper, Le Chiffre captures him and remarks, “your friend Mathis is really my friend Mathis.” This is a lie told to conceal that Vesper is the real traitor. After Bond survives Le Chiffre’s torture, his suspicions intensify when Mathis tries to extract information from him as he recovers. Two MI6 agents taser Mathis and drag him away. After Vesper’s betrayal, M suggests to Bond that Vesper’s actions cleared Mathis of suspicion. Bond tells M to keep “sweating him.”

After much interrogation, MI6 clears Mathis, purchasing him a villa in Talamone, Italy, which he shares with a lady friend named Gemma. When Bond arrives and inquires about Bolivia, Mathis reveals he was stationed in South America for seven years.

In La Paz, Mathis contacts an old friend, Carlos (Fernando Guillén Cuervo), Bolivian National Police Force Colonel. Mathis is unaware, however, that Carlos is in league with Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) and General Medrano’s (Joaquín Cosío) plot to take over the Bolivian government. Two of Carlos’s officers shoot Mathis, intending to pin the murder on Bond, but Bond dispatches the officers. As he dies, Mathis tells Bond to forgive Vesper – “She gave everything for you” – and also to forgive himself. Determined to suppress his grief at Mathis’s death so as not to compromise his mission, Bond leaves his friend’s body in a dumpster and takes money from his wallet. “He wouldn’t care,” Bond explains to Camille (Olga Kurylenko).

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