The bond identity – Quantum of solace review

Quantum of Solace – Starring Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric and Judi Dench. Directed by Marc Forster. Rated M for action violence. 106 mins.

After all those months of anticipation, I wish I had walked out of the cinema with more to tell you than … ‘meh’. Anything more than that would simply be far too kind; anything less would be unnecessarily cruel. Perhaps I shouldn’t have rewatched the far superior Casino Royale the night before seeing Quantum of Solace. I figured it would be the best way to get back into the spirit of all things Bond. Perhaps director Marc Forster should have done the same before heading into production. Bond 22 is a mishmash of clever set pieces and poor executions; good performances and weak characters; pretty pictures and terrible dialogue.

Daniel Craig is back as the blonde Bond-shell, and is truly the saving grace of this film. Earning his title as ‘Best. Bond. Ever.’, he brings a calm exterior to the blistering powderkeg beneath. QOS begins with Bond hunting down those responsible for the death of his beloved Vesper Lynd, the woman who betrayed him and turned him into an impenetrable killing machine. He interrogates the intimidating Mr White, head of an organisation called QUANTUM (so that’s what it means). Although White is a little sketchy on the details, QUANTUM is apparently behind, well everything, and its members include almost everyone. An organisation so widespread no one has ever heard of it? I’m intrigued.

Sadly, the intrigue dies away when it becomes apparent that this film won’t be about QUANTUM at all. Instead, we have to suffer through an interminable plot about an evil environmentalist called Dominic Greene (gettit?) who destabilises governments for military dictators and corporations. Greene is played by Matheiu Amalric, an actor who was much more interesting when limited to simply blinking, as in The Diving Bell and Butterfly.

Bond drops his own quest for revenge to stop Greene from unleashing his mad plan to control an important natural resource (it’s not what you think). He teams up with Camille (Kurylenko), a Bolivian agent who is seeking some vengeance of her own. Kurylenko does her best with what she is given, although her action chops are no match for the intellectual sparring skills of Eva Green‘s Vesper Lynd. Thankfully, Bond doesn’t attempt to romance the spunky Camille, saving his charm for the aptly named Strawberry Fields (Gemma Arterton). And if anyone was questioning Bond’s ability to seduce women, marvel at the effectiveness of this line: “Help me look for some stationary”. If I could deliver that line the way Craig does, I’m pretty sure I’d be set for life.

Of course, the real Bond girl is, and always will be, M. Judi Dench brings the kind of feistiness to the role women forty years her junior can’t even muster. Although she is forced to scold James on several occasions, it definitely seems as though she has real affection for the boy. Those precious few moments between Dench and Craig are the most interesting of the film. I will leave you to decide whether that is a compliment or an insult to the rest of the picture.

I could keep talking about the rest of the plot, but I feel as if I’m spending more time on the story than the film does. So, onto the action! And what action! I haven’t seen action like this since The Bourne Ultimatum. In fact … wait a second. It’s exactly LIKE the action in The Bourne Ultimatum. Some shots feel as if they were lifted directly! (Thank you for humouring the most obvious of revelations.) With the exception of a thrilling sequence set to the opera Tosca and a foot-chase through Sienna, many of the set-pieces fall flat in the execution. The Bourne aping only further proves the identity crisis this franchise has fallen victim too.

Despite its glaring flaws, Quantum of Solace isn’t without its highlights. However, the film feels like an overblown spectacle compared to the far superior Casino Royale, a film that understood the subtle thrills of an interesting conversation, the slow-burn excitement of a poker game, and the minimalistic terror of a piece of rope. I do enjoy the evolution Bond himself is undergoing. Craig is perhaps the first actor to portray 007 like a human being, instead of a clichéd, one-liner spouting cad (yes, ‘Bond, James Bond’ has been nixed, deal with it). A lot of those famous Bondisms like anonymous sex, killing without remorse and vodka martinis are no longer without consequences. This Bond must deal with the fatal price of loving a woman; must reconsider vengeance driven killing sprees; must recognise the difference between having a small drink and requiring an intervention.

Quantum of Solace has been called a direct sequel to Casino Royale, although it’s not much of one. I would be kinder to it if it was a bridging film for a final, answer-providing entry, but the filmmakers have stated no such intentions. Instead, it’s just another entry into the Bond canon. A humourless, sometimes boring entry. But hey, it’s still better than Die Another Day. At the very least, Quantum of Solace gives us James Bond doing what he does best. Let’s just hope next time, he’s given a more interesting universe to do it in.


Check out the trailer here.

6 Responses to “The bond identity – Quantum of solace review”

  1. Just saw it last night, the action sequences does remind me of The Bourne Ultimatum! how right you are… this is not as good as Casino unfortunately, they really shouldn’t have changed directors. The angles for this movie was all wrong :(Just realised how fantastic Casino Royale was! shame about this movie… Couldn’t understand Olga, lost me on the plot. Shame, shame, shame.

  2. i saw this movie a few days ago with family, all bond devotees of a sort. However this one left me wishing I had saved the money. Too loud with pointless bangs and explosions, confusing plot and no real direction. I think it was only in the closing moments that anything made any sense.Col

  3. Totally agree with your review. They just tried too hard to make it all super big, super explosive – was there any glass left unscathed anywhere?! I don’t think I followed a plot at all and the Olga subplot was boring and unnecessary. The “making of” was more interesting than the film. Gotta love D Craig though… it won’t put me off Bond. What a disappointment though.

  4. That is the most sensible review i have read yet for QOS. Congratulations for being able to see both sides of the story and being able to review the film taking into account the different types of viewers who would have seen it by now. By that i mean the bond fanatics who are mostly let down by this instalment and the action film fans who could have seen past the non-bondness of the film and taken it for what it was – a frenetic bourne-esque action film.I also wholeheartedly agree with your wish that this film could be the bridge between a tight trilogy. The third film could be an absolute ripper if the producers took this path and let Craig’s Bond bring down Quantum in a third film.Keep up fighting the good fight.

  5. Totally agree…my friends and I now refer to as Quantum of Shyte.

  6. Thanks, its a really good review.

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