REVIEW: Quantum of Solace

Quantum of Solace
106 Minutes // United Kingdom-USA // Metro-Goldwyn-Mayor (MGM)
dir. Marc Forster
Sunday, September 16th, 2008. Cineplex Odeon Orion Gate.
starring: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko & Mathieu Amalric

The 22nd installment of the James Bond series, Quantum of Solace is being deemed as the second in what is a very un-Bond James Bond film. Drenched with grit, moist with dark humor and with no gadgets or special vehicles, Quantum of Solace is more Bourne than Bond. Is this a flaw? I answer: why should it be? Bond has been all class, all ‘man’ and all affluent in the past, but this is the first time we’ve come across a realistic, hard hitting, no holds barred Bond who’s driven by revenge rather than a paycheck. This Bond is the best Bond in the entire series with possibly the best performance to boot. The only flaws this film sees are superficial ones that shouldn’t discredit such an honest film.

Marc Forster directs the film in place of Martin Campbell (the director of Casino Royale). He takes small ideas (not so many that one should consider him a thief) from Greengrass’ Bourne direction, but does many more original things with the script to come off as a competent action director. His fight sequences were exquisite; his chase sequences were intensely paced; his atmosphere was grim. Forster keeps the Bond series on the right track, and although I did enjoy his direction, I hope the producers get a stronger director to work on the sequel.

Though it wasn’t perfect, Marc Forster achieves one of the few things most director’s can do – a great variety in genres. From the light comedy Stranger than Fiction to the heavy drama piece The Kite Runner to the high-end Bond film Quantum of Solace, Marc Forster does something most director can’t accomplish; an assortment of skill.

Academy Award winner Paul Haggis and BAFTA Award nominee Neal Purvis worked together to pen the script. Haggis (known most notably for Crash and Million Dollar Baby) and Purvis (known mostly for working on the 21st Bond, Casino Royale) combine thoughts and forge a strong script, plot wise, but a fairly mediocre script in terms of dialogue.

It appears that Haggis was in control of the speech and plotting, but Purvis was mainly in control of the atmospheric details, as well as the development of character. If Purvis worked solely on the script it would’ve been a greater effort.

Quantum of Solace takes place moments after Casino Royale – Bond, an angst-ridden, fury-filled (and apparent) super being, is after the man who killed his love, Vesper. For the first time in the series, Bond puts national duty second to personal vendetta.

The film starts off on a fast paced car chase that takes place immediately after Casino Royale. Bond is being chased by villainous men from Mr. White’s organization, handling them in a fashion that only Bond knows of.

Hit the theme song: ‘Another Way to Die’ by Jack White, sung by Jack White and Alicia Keys. This is the best song from any Bond film to date. It captures the essence and deliberate human emotion that takes place over the entire film in a four minute period. The song is as relentless as the new Bond.

Daniel Craig reprises his role as the hard-coated James Bond. Another grand performance from Mr. Craig. Akin to his performance in Casino Royale, Craig has a lot to work with on an emotional spectrum, as well as a genuine Bond scale. He is the best Bond to date – I hope the franchise keeps him for at least a few more films. Playing the antagonist is Mathieu Amalric. Amalric plays Dominic Greene, an free market profiteer who is primarily a mob boss. Mathieu was perfect for the role, but as previously stated his role was underwritten. He had the perfect idea for the role, but never had a single scene where his venom could spray the screen. Olga Kurylenko plays Camille, the latest Bond girl. Not a traditional Bond girl in any sense of the role as she diverts to her own vendettas and has her own personal story – she isn’t a ditz with a clever sexual innuendo as a name. All three give strong performances, but I enjoy them in the order I spoke about them in.

See the film. If you hate the fact that Bond isn’t Bond then pretend the film isn’t the latest Bond and just go and enjoy yourself. It’s worth the ten bucks. ***/****