Saturday, 27 December 2008

Quantum of Solace

A sequel to one of the best Bond films ever (Casino Royale), Quantum of Solace had a lot to live up to. That it failed to do so comes as no surprise, which is why I don’t understand all the critics who panned this Bond outing for not only not living up to its predecessor, but for not being a stereotypical Bond film. Sure, I agree that Quantum of Solace takes itself too seriously and is missing some of the old Bond “fun” (Q, the countless one-liners, etc.). But it’s also missing some of the bad traits of previous Bond films (like horrible acting) and must be viewed as part of the ongoing attempt to bring Bond into the 21st century (which is probably why they brought in Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, The Kite Runner) to direct).

Daniel Craig continues to make an excellent, if rather icy, Bond, and while Quantum does not give him a lot of dialogue, it nevertheless allows him to develop his character and makes him a more psychologically complex Bond than his predecessors. The other actors are also very good, with a strong female lead (Olga Kurylenko), Judi Dench as M, Giancarlo Giannini as Mathis and Mathieu Amalric as the villain. The locations are a highlight (stereotypically Bond!) and allow the film to venture into social commentary in a way that Bond films rarely do. There is a repeated emphasis on the plight of the poor in Latin America, attacks against certain powerful governments (the British foreign secretary says: “Right and wrong play no part; it’s all about necessity”) and comments related to the environment. And while there is, as usual, far too much violence, there is a consistent attempt (not always successful) to take the violence seriously.

Of course, you all know how much I dislike Bourne-like action, so its presence in Quantum is a major problem for me. Still, there are enough quiet and dramatic moments to partly offset this. The plot is rather thin, but that’s hardly unusual for Bond.

So, yes, Quantum of Solace is a flawed film in many ways. While Casino Royale ranked among my favourite Bond films, Quantum will rank somewhere in the middle. But that means I thought it was a very solid Bond outing, deserving *** and a mug still held in an upright position.

1 comment:

  1. A lot of the same feelings that I had about the film. I still miss the old humour - if I'm going to see this kind of film I prefer it as more self-parody than taking itself seriously. But that said, if the film is going to be serious, it was a huge step up to have somewhat realistic corporate evil. In terms of plot, I thought there were some serious editing or writing problems - it almost felt like some needed sections were skipped or something. It felt like they took some shortcuts somewhere. But, thanks in large part to the nature of the enemy - I'll give it the second mug up and match your ***.