Quantum of Solace Review
Daniel Craig’s second outing as the ice cold SIS agent is faster, more action orientated but lacks the Bond flair and the story is a little bit iffy.
Director: Mark Foster
Cast: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Giancarlo Giannini, Judi Dench, Gemma Arterton, Jesper Christensen.
Run Time: 106 min.
US Release: 14 November 2008
UK Release: 31 October 2008 German Release: 06 November 2008
Welcome back to my James Bond review series leading up to Spectre next week. Following the success of Casino Royale, Eon Productions handed the reigns over to director Mark Foster whereas Purvis, Wade and Haggis return as screenwriters. While sharing the characters and the title of one of Ian Fleming's short stories, Quantum of Solace is an original story from beginning to end that was not inspired by any previous Bond novels.
--- WARNING! THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS ---
Having returned to MI6 after the death of Vesper, Bond (Craig) is hunting down White and the organisation he is working for. After learning that Quantum has their men everywhere, including the inner ranks of the Secret Service, M (Dench) sends Bond to different locations around the world. In Haiti he makes a new acquaintance in Camille (Kurylenko), as well as finally meeting the face of the organisation that drove his love to commit suicide: Dominic Greene (Amalric).
James, although loyal to M, has his own plans for Greene and leaves a trail of bodies that alarm the British Foreign Ministry and M. As a precaution the SIS cancels his credit cards, which make Bond turn to an unlikely ally. Together with Mathis, he follows Greene to Bolivia and manages to obtain an invitation to an eco fund-raiser. Sadly Mathis sources turn against him and kill him, pinning his death on Bond.
With the help of Camille, James learns that Greene is after the water reservoirs of Bolivia and trails him to a remote Hotel in the Bolivian desert, where he finally obtains his revenge. M reinstates him and he is free to start his next mission.
I’ll be honest, I had my issues with Quantum of Solace the first and second time I viewed this in theatres. I was confused and somewhat enraged, simply because it did not feel at all like a Bond movie. As a pure action movie it would have been really good, but it did not quite grasp that 007-esque atmosphere.
Yet, re-watching it several times after it’s Blu-ray release, it did start growing on me especially when watching it back-to-back with Casino Royale. The plot and all decisions made by the writers and the director started proving a point. It is the fastest paced Bond I have seen to date, with action scenes after action scenes and that is the film’s weakest part, because it hampers the character development of other personas, such as Camille.
One of the strongest aspects I thought, was the revenge driven main scenario of the movie. It managed to show how emotionally distraught Bond is after Vespers suicide, which in other terms proved that this super spy is just plain human.
The characters were mostly as good as in Casino Royale. Craig still is great portraying the double-0 agent; he gives him a vulnerability like we have never seen before, while at the same time being a cold and calculated assassin. James has his eyes set on the man behind the organization, that killed his girlfriend and he won’t stop for no one to get his revenge.
I wasn’t the greatest fan of Olga Kurylenko’s character; she seemed to play her usual persona, which is that of a damsel in distress. Strawberry Fields (Arterton) seemed more competent than her, even if she got herself killed. I also found that the short moments between action sequences did not allow for enough character development, that Camille desperately needed.
Dominic Greene was one of the weakest all-time Bond villains. He is a rich man who wants to obtain more power through destabilizing third world countries, but he doesn't have the charisma or that expression of danger other Bond villains have.
Roberto Schaefer director of photography did a great job. Like I said before, the story is very fast paced and so is the cinematography, yet it has a sleek and electrifying look. Schafer studied Goldfinger and used that film as inspiration for Quantum’s cinematography, which can be noticed by its goldish colour scheme. The action sequences were once again more grounded and realistic, apart from that ridiculous airplane segment.
Verdict: Quantum of Solace is a mixed bag. It has a good revenge story, solid action sequences and a beautiful cinematography. But it also has a weak villain, the amount of action sequences hinder the development of supporting characters and the Bond atmosphere is completely gone. I will therefore give this film a 6 out of 10 rating.
So what is your opinion of Quantum? Did you like it? Thank you for reading and as always leave a comment and share this review with others if you liked it. My final review for my Bond series will be up next week Tuesday, before I finally review Spectre.