Quantum of Solace
- Daniel Craig as James Bond
- Olga Kurylenko as Camille Montes
- Mathieu Amalric as Dominic Greene
- Giancarlo Giannini as René Mathis
- Gemma Arterton as Agent Fields
- Judi Dench as M
- Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter
- Jesper Christensen as Mr White
Coming after the revamped success of Casino Royale, Quantum feels like a step down or two. I think that any film to follow a predecessor as good as Casino Royale would struggle, but whereas that film brought something new and exciting to the series, Quantum tries too hard to change parts of the formula that should be left alone.
With the death of Vesper and the full extent of her betrayal now known to Bond, he is a broken man, out purely for revenge at the death of her. The film opens with Bond, with Mr White in the boot of his car, being chased by the enemy along a mountain range of Italy. After successfully fending off the potential assassins, Bond brings the nefarious Mr White into custody, where M is waiting for him. White sneers at Bond and the secret service as he informs them that the organisation that he works for has people everywhere. Unfortunately, M’s bodyguard is actually a double agent and frees Mr White, before Bond chases him to his death. Enraged by the lack of knowledge of this organisation and at the end of her tether with Bond and his personal vendetta, M doesn’t know what to do to rectify this dangerous situation. Bond has different ideas and after hearing of a link to the organisation and motivated by revenge, he travels to Haiti. It is here that he meets Dominic Greene, a leading member of the Quantum organisation and environmentalist with evil ideas of power. Also in toe is Camille Montes, a vengeful young woman infiltrating Greene’s inner circle to come into contact with a corrupt Bolivian general. Camille wants revenge for her family’s murder and when she meets Bond, the two both realize that they are both on the same mission to avenge loved ones. The two of them travel from Austria to Bolivia in an attempt to bring Greene’s plan to seize the water supply of Bolivia to a stop. But with distrust at every corner and revenge on his mind, can Bond really get it together to pull through and stop the plan before it is too late?
What immediately gives Quantum of Solace an underwhelming quality is the kind of editing used. With quick cuts and shaky cam a plenty, it’s like the director thought that they should try to emulate the Bourne series. I’m all for some of the frenetic editing, but it truly becomes a drag on the film and detracts from many effective scenes. Marc Forster tries to bring more grit to this movie, but instead makes it uncomfortable and way too bleak. I get that the revenge arc is in play here, but it takes a backseat as the film jumps from place to place without any real certainty to speak of. The whole scheme of Greene stealing the water supply is supposed to bring in a sense of growing paranoia but quickly becomes a bore. And the locations of the Bond film are usually a highlight but because of the drab nature of the film, there is no glamour or stunning locales to admire. Thankfully, David Arnold brings a touch of the old style to the musical score and gives Quantum of Solace a much-needed sense of purpose and panache. The same can’t be said of the main song, ‘Another Way To Die’ sung by Jack White and Alicia Keys. Putting the two musically opposite stars together seemed like a good idea at the time, but the end result is a forgettable song that doesn’t impress at all.
Daniel Craig brings intensity and darkness to Bond, showcasing the breaking of his heart and the severing of his morals. It’s a shame the overall film isn’t that memorable, as Craig puts in a great second performance as this bruised 007. Olga Kurylenko gives wounded strength and deep vulnerability to the role of Camille, who sees Bond as something of a kindred spirit as they are both out for revenge. What is refreshing in Quantum of Solace and a rare bonus is that there isn’t a romantic tie between the two that gets in the way of their personal mission; they are both clearly on the same track down the path of vendetta to rid themselves of the emotional ghosts haunting them. Mathieu Amalric definitely hits the right notes with the slimy and reptilian nature he brings to Dominic Greene, but as a villain he isn’t really that great and his scheme isn’t one that will linger in the memory. Giancarlo Giannini reappears as old contact Mathis but is criminally underused, which in turn undermines his tragic fate in this movie. Gemma Arterton gives appropriately terse and businesslike assurance to her role as a consulate agent tasked with returning the avenging Bond to England who plays by the rules of her job description but is persuaded otherwise by Bond. Judi Dench brings stern authority and power to the part of M, who this time worries that Bond is purely motivated by revenge, and not thinking straight in his mission. Jeffrey Wright once again plays Felix Leiter, who this time helps Bond but is cynical about the business he is mixed up in. Jesper Christensen, although only seen sparingly, brings that sense of intelligent menace to his role as the sneaky Mr White.
Underwhelming and not really involving, Quantum of Solace is a Bond film in desperate need of that extra something to bring it to life.