Quantum of Solace (2008)
Directed by: Marc Forster
Starring: Daniel Craig, Gemma Arterton, Giancarlo Giannini,
Jeffrey Wright, Jesper Christensen, Judi Dench, Mathieu Amalric,
Olga Kurylenko, Stana Katic
MPAA rating: PG-13
Run Time: 106 minutes
Regardless of what you may have heard, I
did not travel from San Francisco to London to see Quantum
of Solace before it opened in the US. But I did see the
film on my first night in London, at a gigantic movie theater
in Leicester Square with a super-sized screen and great sound---just
perfect for a James Bond film.
I was very much looking forward to seeing
the second Daniel Craig / Bond film, since I thoroughly enjoyed
Casino Royal (2006) http://www.culturevulture.net/movies/casinoroyale.htm.
Although this film is a darker continuation of the Casino
Royal story line, standing alone, it is more of a conventional
action film—a good fast-paced action film—but
not a great Bond film.
When Quantum of Solace begins, it
is one hour after Casino Royale ends with the death
of Bond’s love, Vesper Lynd, who had been blackmailed
into betraying him. Bond, in a combination of revenge and
responsibility, seeks out Quantum, the mysterious multi-national
organization that is responsible for Vesper Lynd’s death.
Bond follows a whirlwind of clues that lead
him to the ruthless international wheeler-dealer and Quantum
member Dominic Greene, (Mathieu Amalric). Posing as the chairman
of an environmental company, Greene actually intends to control
the water supply of an entire continent by buying huge chunks
of South American desert and some Latin American governments
Although from my description, Greene may
sound like a Machiavellian adversary worthy of Bond, he actually
seemed more like a slimy second-rate music producer. Without
a great villain to conquer, Bond’s quest for revenge
seemed less momentous.
There are more twists in the plot and more
vehicle chases and crashes than were strictly necessary. Most
were exciting, but some seemed like mediocre substitutes for
the ingenuity of many of the action scenes in the other twenty-one
Many of the iconic James Bond elements were
missing in Quantum of Solace. Where was Q with his
collection of ingenious gadgets? Who will own up to selecting
the unpleasantly discordant music played at the start of the
film? And why was the traditional Bond music played only as
the credits started to role? Isn’t James Bond a spy?
There was not much espionage in Quantum of Solace.
There were some nice touches for the Bond
cognoscenti, including the revival of the Casino Royal
roles played by Jeffrey Wright and Giancarlo Giannini.
The locales, from Italy, Haiti, Austria to
Bolivia added glamour to the film. The cinematography shined
and the Bond women were as gorgeous and one-dimensional as
Daniel Craig, whose star
quality carries the film, portrayed 007 as seething with barely
controlled rage for revenge. He’s another dark character
to be added to the popular genre of sorrowful depressed action
heroes á la Jason Bourne. Although it was in keeping
with the script, I missed the clever, suave and amusing Bond
of olden days, who saunters through danger unscathed.
We should have known from the unusual title, Quantum of
Solace, that we would be viewing a Bond overtaken by
emotion. The movie title is the name of an Ian Fleming short
story from the book, For Your Eyes Only, in which
Bond listens to a story told by the elderly governor of the
Bahamas about a divorced couple.
The Governor said, "I’ve
seen flagrant infidelities patched up, I’ve seen crimes
and even murder…and other forms of social crime. Incurable
disease, blindness, disaster - all of these can be overcome.
But never the death of common humanity in one of the partners.
…I’ve invented a rather high-sounding title for
this basic factor in human relations. I have called it the
law of the Quantum of Solace.
Bond said, "That’s
a splendid name for it…I see what you mean...Quantum
of Solace - the amount of comfort. …all love and friendship
is based in the end on that. Human beings are very insecure.
When the other person not only makes you feel insecure but
also actually seems to want to destroy you, it’s obviously
the end. The Quantum of Solace stands at zero. You’ve
got to get away to save yourself."
Emily S. Mendel
©Emily S. Mendel 2008 All Rights Reserved