Theatrical Review: Quantum of Solace
Literally taking place right on the heels of Casino Royale, James Bond is seeking revenge on the killers of Vesper Lynd, and through his last suspect, Bond and M discover a far greater threat, that of a new group called Quantum, who even has an operative placed right in MI-6. Bond’s investigation leads him to an environmental entrepreneur named Dominic Greene and his company Greene Planet and also to a woman named Camille who has her own plan of revenge to complete.
And in a nutshell, that’s the premise of Quantum of Solace, Daniel Craig’s second movie starring as James Bond. This movie is almost an extension of Casino Royale completing Bond’s opening arc and setting things up (hopefully} to come. As such, it doesn’t quite carry the same impact that Casino Royale did, though to me, it’s still a very entertaining film with some very nice action set pieces.
This one is directed by Marc Forster, who previously directed The Kite Runner which I haven’t seen. And Forster is doing some things here that’s not atypical James Bond stuff, but still fitting to what has been set up with the first movie. Where it falls a little short is doing something that’s more complete unto itself, that is if that’s what you’re expecting, but if you’re going into it looking at this as an extension of the previous film, well then you’re bound to have some fun with it.
I really like Forster’s action sequences here, some of them giving an almost over-the shoulder type of view and others intercut with some other action going on simultaneously. One in particular going on during an opera, Tosca, is really extremely nice.
Craig is solid gold as Bond, he proved in Casino Royale and he cements it with Quantum of Solace. and while this doesn’t quite ask the same things of him that the previous film did, there’s still some nice character stuff along the way. One scene in particular when Bond is giving Camille some advice about killing a person is very nice. Olga Kurlyenko plays Camille, and she was most recently seen in Max Payne and she’s OK in the part, mostly serving as window dressing more than giving anything real meaningful. Better is Mathieu Amalric, who plays Greene. Now he’s not in the same category as Le Chiffre, but as the tip of the iceberg that should be the organization of Quantum, he does a pretty decent job. The real trick will be in the third film and if the pursuit of Quantum is taken further, then that’s when the filmmakers will have to up the ante a bit. Judi Dench, Giancarlo Giannini and Jeffrey Wright are all back from the previous effort and all are fine, though Dench’s M seems just a bit softer than she’s been in previous efforts (including the Brosnan Bond when speaking of this). Still though, this cast is pretty well suited in the big picture.
I thought it was a lot of fun, even though it doesn’t have the same impact as Casino Royale it does have it’s moments, and it closes the emotional arc for Bond started in the previous film, while setting the stage for bigger things to come. My advice is to set those expectations just a wee bit lower than what you had for Casino Royale and look at this as an extension, and you should have a pretty decent time with it.