James Bond Review: Quantum of Solace (dir. by Marc Foster)


So, here we are at the end of all things.

About 22 days ago, The Shattered Lens started a project to cover all of the Bond Films in order leading up to the release of the 23rd film, Skyfall. Spearheaded by Lisa Marie and Arleigh, It’s been a fun ride seeing everyone’s thoughts on James Bond over the movies and it’s cool to know that after 50 years, they still (well, most of them) hold their own. Today, we cover the second Daniel Craig film, Quantum of Solace.

Quantum of Solace reunites the same writing team from Casino Royale – Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Paul Haggis (Academy Award Winner for 2006’s Crash), and brings on Monster’s Ball director Marc Foster for filming duties. As far as I can tell, it seems to be the first 007 film to start not far from the previous film ended. Literally, there could be a 20 minute difference between the end events of Casino Royale and the opening sequence here. The movie veers away from the classic gun barrel sequence and gets the audience right into the action with Bond avoiding villains in his Aston Martin DBS. The chase leads into a quarry, where he manages to get rid of his opponents. It’s only when he arrives in an unknown location within Siena, Italy that we find he’s had Mr. White in the trunk of his car the entire time. Mr. White was the individual that Bond wounded and introduced himself at the end of Casino Royale.

We basically find James Bond dealing with the loss of Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), and though she never makes any kind of appearance in the film, her presence (or lack thereof) is certainly felt. While Quantum of Solace has some remarkable scenes, for me it suffered from at least one major problem early on. Near the beginning of the film, after the credits, there is a chase between Bond and a villian, as always. At the same time, we’re given shots of a bullfight that’s occurring. While I understand that we’re supposed to see the similarities between both actions, I felt as if I was being pulled away from the story at hand. Foster does this a number of times, including one in the middle of an opera scene. That seemed really strange to me, though others may appreciate it.

Bond is told by M (Dame Judi Dench), after securing Mr. White that she has a lead on Vesper’s boyfriend, but also believes that he’s not quite dead. She asks Bond to leave it alone, but being someone who sees things through, he takes a copy of his photograph. It’s revealed that Mr. White is part of a larger group called Quantum, similar to SPECTRE in some respects. Although Bond loses Mr. White, he gets a clue that leads him to Haiti.

The Haiti sequences were done prior to the earthquake that happened there, and it makes Quantum of Solace one of the last films to show how that area looked before the devastation. 007 is able to find his suspect, but in the course of fighting, he kills him. This becomes something of a thread in Quantum of Solace. Just about anyone that Bond encounters is either killed by him or because of him and at some point, restraint needs to be made. At some point, it goes so far that it becomes something of a “Bond Goes Rogue” tale in the vein of License to Kill. There’s a slight reference to The Spy Who Loved Me with a rooftop fall that’s interesting, as well as a great one for the movie Goldfinger. The Craig Bond stories seem to want to make sure they remind us of all the films before it, though it’s hardly the first 007 story to do so.

The Bond Girls in Quantum of Solace are Olga Kurlyenko and Gemma Arterton. Kurlyenko’s Camille has a mission of her own, as she’s trying to avenge the death of her mother. Arterton’s character, Miss Fields (who’s first name I believe may be Strawberry, but don’t quote me on that) is send in by MI6 to bring Bond back in for debriefing (as he’s been avoiding M’s requests). The actual villain of the movie is played by Mathieu Amalric (Munich), who is more of a hands-off baddie with tons of henchmen at his side.

The problem I had with Quantum of Solace is that it seemed like the Vesper angle was a side note. Yes, we know Quantum is out there, and we learn there’s a plot to control the water of a small area, but outside of all that, it didn’t seem like much of a revenge story. This is unless, of course, it wasn’t meant to be. I’m not a big fan of Quantum of Solace overall. It’s not as bad as Die Another Day (which a number of people consider to be one of the worst) by a longshot, but after what we were given in Casino Royale, it almost seems like it builds on things in the wrong direction.

This weekend, Skyfall is out, and by the time the weekend is up, we’ll have a review for it. We leave you the theme song to Quantum of Solace, “Another Way to Die” by Jack White and Alicia Keys. The Instrumental version of this song is actually really good, though the actual song itself was just a little off.

4 responses to “James Bond Review: Quantum of Solace (dir. by Marc Foster)

  1. After seeing Skyfall again I have to say now that Marc Forster’s inability to direct competent action sequences wasn’t just this film’s flaw. I think Forster just didn’t understand the character of Bond, in general.

    I wouldn’t call Sam Mendes an action filmmaker but he still able to get his second unit director Alexander Witt to bring to life the action scenes he wanted done. Plus, instead of trying to put his own stamp on who Bond was like Forster tried and failed to do, Mendes just took what almost a half-century of storytelling have already created and worked with it. Here’s to hoping Mendes stays with the franchise instead of the next Bond film being handed off to a new filmmaker.

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  2. Pingback: Here’s the Official Teaser Trailer for SPECTRE! | Through the Shattered Lens

  3. Pingback: James Bond Film Review: SPECTRE (dir by Sam Mendes) | Through the Shattered Lens

  4. I hear you on Marc Forster’s direction. That’s why I call this one the ArtHouse James Bond Movie. I think Forster tried just a little too hard with this one.

    I actively hated QUANTUM OF SOLACE until a few years later a friend of mine suggested that I watch CASINO ROYALE and QUANTUM OF SOLACE back to back on DVD. I did and to my surprise found that I enjoyed QOS a lot more than I previous did. QOS is basically Part 2 of CR. Together they make one long four hour movie.

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