20 March 2009

Movie Review: Quantum Of Solace


Quantum Of Solace
2008, 106mins, PG-13
Director: Marc Forster
Writer (s): Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Ian Flemying (original character)
Cast includes: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench, Gemma Arterton, Giancarlo Giannini, Jeffrey Wright
Release Date: 14th November 2008

After 2006’s fabulous reboot Casino Royale it seemed that the Bond franchise had found its footing for at least the guts of another decade. Daniel Craig gave a powerful and memorable turn as the legendary secret agent whilst Eva Green sizzled fantastically as the Bond girl and the action was shot and pieced together in the most breathtaking and entertaining of fashions. So with the Dark Knight proving this year that sequels can be better than even stellar predecessors surely Quantum of Solace wouldn’t disappoint? Sadly it does, whilst being far from Bond’s worst adventure in recent times Quantum of Solace is quite possibly his most forgettable and ultimately mediocre.

The film picks up instantly after the final scene of Casino Royale, Bond still fuming over the death of Vesper has picked up Mr. White- a member of the mysterious organization that saw his beloved dead. Despite a serious mix up at the interrogation which leads to White’s escape Bond and MI6 pick up enough info to take them to Haiti in their search for understanding of this puzzle. There Bond finds Camille (Olga Kurylenko) women out for revenge, who in turn takes Bond to Eco-millionaire Dominic Green (Mathieu Amalric) who it appears is playing a large part in this mystery organizations plans.
It quickly transpires that Green and Quantum are in line with the corrupt
ex- leader of Latin America, and that they also have major contacts in the British government and CIA. In order for Bond to get revenge for Vesper and find her killer he will have to stop Green’s plans to take over the water supply for Latin America. Together with the rogue Camille he attempts to finish these evil doings whilst attempting to get even at the same time.

It has to be said whilst the picture as a whole is deflated Daniel Craig’s performance certainly isn’t. He provides more of the same excellent stuff he provided in Casino Royale, he can quip with the best of them but his Bond has got a hard edged soul to compliment it. For his sake I hope he gets one final and far superior outing as 007 because frankly he’s totally deserving of leaving the part with a big bang. Judi Dench also provides another solid turn as MI6 head M but leaving those two aside things start to look a little bleak. As Camille Kurylenko just can’t draw out the same unique and memorable style of turn that Green managed in the previous movie, the vengeance character arc is generic and thus in the end she’s just another babe who can use a gun. Mathieu Amalric has a similar problem, as talented a thesp as he is the script just doesn’t allow him enough scope to deliver a turn of any stature of menace. All the great Bond villains such as Goldfinger and Alec Trevelyan where great characters on the screen and on the page, sadly Dominic Green is to limp a creation to really make the desired impression. Gemma Arterton and Jeffrey Wright do passable jobs with small roles but neither makes the necessary impact a great Bond sidekick should.

The action in Quantum Of Solace is competently staged and well shot by director Marc Forster but it lacks the whoops and shock factor with which this series has become so associated with. The opening c sequence where Bond is being chased by thugs in cars really says it all, it looks good but at no point do you really feel excited or particularly engaged with what you see. The final showdown as it is feels like pure production line work, it may look a little different but it is coming from an idea that has been recycled numerous times.

Casino Royale had real heart and provided Bond with the edgy kick up the backside it needed, Quantum Of Solace is a film that slacks up and possibly becomes to invested and interested in the inner conflicts of its characters. The difference was last time the entity’s on screen where far more real and genuine and faced more unique woes and inner conflicts- whets up on screen here is far more hackneyed and comes from people who really don’t make an impression to begin with. Director Forster also looks criminally uneasy with his material, his art house origins betray him and coupled with the laden script he tryst to hard to mesh action and emotion together, making only a mess. The human and more outlandish elements of Casino Royale slotted naturedly together, Quantum of Solace feels more like a schizophrenic debacle.
At 106 minutes Quantum marks a fairly short entry into the franchise but in truth it feels a longer yarn than the much lengthier Casino Royale. the less interesting and befuddled nature of the story are key culprits here but from an action perspective one should never underestimate the ability for quality bombastic exciting moments to help pacing and keep the audience member at the edge of their seats. The 2006 Bond movie had that in spades; this new addition struggles to bring it up in serious commodity at any juncture.

I may be coming off making this film sound horrid and in truth it isn’t, just crushingly disappointing. There are elements to be admired such as Craig’s gutsy performance but on the whole the action is too dethatched and the story to incoherent and plodding for an audience member and more importantly Bond fan to leave feeling like they’ve seen something worthwhile. No matter what I say Quantum of Solace will be a big hit and in fairness far weaker films have taken hefty amounts of money this year, but the fact of the matter is that it would have been nice to see both Batman and Bond defeat the sequels odds in the same year. However whilst one achieved that aim with flying colours, the other in reality sadly doesn’t even come close.

A film review by Daniel Kelly, 2008


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