April 16, 2009
Review - " Quantum of Solace " - (in Theaters) By Roland Hansen
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Quantum of Solace
Directed by: Marc Foster
Starring: Daniel Craig, Gemma Arterton, Olga Kurylenko, Judy Dench
Covered in oil, the thick black fluid dripping from her naked body, the latest girl
to fall for James Bond lies dead on a hotel bed. Sleeping with 007 has always
been bad for a woman's health. And MI6 Agent Fields is the latest Bond girl to
meet with a sticky end in Quantum of Solace, in a scene that brilliantly evokes
the death of Shirley Eaton in Goldfinger.
Yes, Quantum of Solace opens an hour or so after Casino Royale ends. This is
not merely a narrative device, I'm assuming it was planned from the get-go. The
plot isn't important because while the premise and some of the dynamics are
interesting, the movie is more about Daniel Craig being an immortal badass.
This message rings loud and clear right away with Solace's two opening action
sequences. The first is a high-speed, frenetic car chase. The second, well, is
kind of hard to describe. You know that part in the coming attractions where he's
holding onto the rope, hanging upside down and aims his gun at the camera?
Yeah, that's the second sequence I'm talking about. I'm assuming it was
painstakingly choreographed with tremendous creativity. I'm assuming this
because everything happens so fast I could barely keep up. And though these
two opening sequences are the best in the film that is pretty much the theme of
this movie. It isn't going to wait for anyone. You just better be prepared for the
To be honest, I'm still not quite sure what the title Quantum of Solace is supposed to mean here. Maybe they just thought it
sounded cool (which it really doesn't). But I'm not sure it makes any sense. I definitely couldn't tell you about all the
ins-and-outs of the plot either. Doesn't matter. I know the basics: a secret world society, capable of destroying economies
has been exposed. Their minions are everywhere; their chief officers are aplenty. And as far as I can remember, this is the
first time an evil scheme has not been completely resolved in a Bond film.
Usually James Bond is up against an evil genius bent on world domination. In the end, Bond spoils the baddie's master plan
and the world is once again saved. But in this Bond film, which is definitely not your father's Bond film, only a portion of the
problem is truly resolved. Things are a little more complicated in this movie and I'm assuming they are already setting us up
for the next entry. This may not work for some people, it might be a little anticlimactic. But for me, this movie ended exactly
where it should have.
There's been much talk about the Bourne franchise's influence over this new Bond series and it's well founded. If Casino
Royale is The Bourne Identity, Quantum of Solace is certainly The Bourne Supremacy. What makes The Bourne Supremacy
stand above the other two films in the series is not only the strong storytelling by director Paul Greengrass or that killer car
chase in Russia ... but the revelation that everything Bourne did in that last act, he did to get to a young Russian girl to
apologize. Quantum doesn't approach the relative depth of Supremacy, but it does end on a quieter, if not more tender
note. Bond's final line in the film is, by the way, perfect.
If you can't tell already, I found it all flavors of fun. It's less of a complete movie than Casino Royale. The Bond girl isn't
as interesting and the villain is average. Yet it's far from ordinary. Like Royale, this movie plays rough and it likes to get
in the ring a lot. Easily the most action-packed Bond movie I've seen, "Quantum of Solace" delivers. Craig is once again
excellent here. But kudos also go to director Marc Foster (Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland) who shows surprising ability in
the action genre. He out-Bays Michael Bay with enough quick-editing to give you paper cuts. Still, the energy of the movie
never feels forced.
Could Daniel Craig equal his last Bond outing? Nearly. He just falls short, but 007's licence to thrill is still intact. "Quantum of
Solace" is a leaner, meaner animal, rammed with shoot-outs, a boat chase and even an aerial dogfight. And our hero is
an angry, embittered man out for blood. Mostly it doesn't feel like a Bond film at all. Not once does Craig say: "The name's
Bond. James Bond." There's no Q or his gadgets. Heck, we even see Bond in a cardigan. There are no risque quips or
arched eyebrows. This Bond is a soul in torment having lost the love of his life when Vesper Lynd drowned.
Saving the world is way down 007's to-do list this time - he
is out to avenge Vesper's death.
If Bond was a cold killer in Casino Royale, here he's a
cauldron of boiling rage. M even puts him on MI6's
capture-or-kill list while the CIA threaten to take him out.
Craig puts in another powerhouse performance. Gemma
Arterton (who plays Fields) and Olga Kurylenko (troubled
moll Camille) are also impressive.
It doesn't disappoint - just don't expect the brilliance of