For the next review of today’s Bond film, Quantum of Solace (2008), here’s a review by Troy of The Review Club
QUANTUM OF SOLACE
Now I know as a Bond fan, this isn’t the best to come out of the series by any stretch of the imagination, but going with my probably hated own opinion, I like the film and it’s 100% not the worst; moments may wither in the plot, the villain(s) is/are awful but it has some brilliant set pieces, it looks classy and follows on nicely from one of the best to come out of the series – ‘Casino Royale’.
The 22nd James Bond movie sees the titular agent transporting Mr White from the 2006 feature into this one. After a car and foot chase James Bond (Daniel Craig) and M (Judi Dench) soon realise a threatening organisation are everywhere and one man who Bond identifies as a leading figure to hit man links is Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric). Greene is clearly using a front to try and obtain desert land but as Bond is still dealing with Vesper’s death and a rising kill count, how will 007 end this mission?
I know in my heart of hearts that it’s not a great or even very good film, part of this is having the misfortune to follow after the spectacular reboot two years before with Martin Campbell’s ‘Casino Royale’. Adding to this, ‘Quantum’ has some dialogue scenes that drag, the plane sequence later on is just stupid, the revenge story is tired and poor for a new Bond tale and villains, narrative developments and the ending are flat and unexciting aspects.
On the other hand, there are some fantastic moments that prevent the film from being swallowed into a sinkhole like Bond and Camille. The opening car chase is an energetic burst into the world of this story and is filled with tyre burning and bullet ripping, classic lovely Bond. The next thrill comes in the form of a foot chase in Siena, Italy. The running pair are captured in frenetic awe and though it does steal from the handheld rooftop style of ‘Bourne’, it can’t be denied that their pulsating journey ending in scaffolding swinging is damn right impressive. I like it too for the fact the race is mirrored with a horse race, showing how one is a sport and the chase is a sport for Bond. I can’t leave this paragraph without commenting on the arty and wonderfully operatic sequence based around hushed talks and La Tosca. The subsequent zooms of the stage eye, the restaurant shoot-off and the tense build up as Bond listens in come together as one of the best pieces of this movie.
It’s such a shame the potential is lost quite quickly as boring businessmen-like villains take the reins of a stupid cover plan and a hotel in the sands end scheme. Greene and the brutish Medrano are stock drawn and have little to no charisma or flair in their villainous stances. Le Chiffre was cool, calculating, had a bold bloody Bond mark to stand out, all Greene has is those big eyes of Amalric to try and draw you in. There are some truly weak ideas, the entire sky high plane chase is dismal, the gimmicky place titles are distracting and dumb and the Russian end, dealing with the potential wrap up of Bond’s vengeance is a damp squib to end it all, not even going anywhere else after.
Daniel Craig still plays the MI-6 secret agent with gritty determination and a twinkly charisma to pull off the two sided coin that James Bond is. He’s a more ruthless man this time and harks back to the rebelling Dalton Bond of ‘Licence to Kill’. Judi Dench is as expected, brilliant as per usual. The steely eyed boss storms in when necessary but you see the more vulnerable maternal characteristics when necessary, a foreboding image for the role she plays in ‘Skyfall’. Olga Kurylenko is a feisty action chick if not side-lined as some partner in crime for Bond to play off. There’s not a whole amount of substance to her character; Camille Montes, they try to ply her with revenge, already boring thanks to it being used for Bond. The whole only Bond girl to not do the deed with the agent doesn’t redeem the fact she’s not an exciting female role, a shame because Kurylenko has the engaging eyes and body language to have done more if given better character writing. Amalric is mediocre at best, never threating Bond or the audience as he should. Gemma Arterton is a plucky receptionist with screen cues to look good, have a zany Bond girl name, sleep with James, help him slightly and be offed in a ‘slick’ old school reference.
A more than average action movie but if viewed as a Bond film and follow up to ‘Casino Royale’ then it’s understandable to see it as quite average, left with no outstanding peak of character or plot. ‘Quantum of Solace’ keeps the Bond sage ticking away nicely and however flawed it’s still enjoyable and stylish.