"QUANTUM OF SOLACE" (2008) Review
I am going to be perfectly frank. I had hesitated to write this review of the 2008 James Bond movie, ”QUANTUM OF SOLACE”
. Why? Because it has left me in a daze.Four days have passed since I saw the movie and I am still experiencing slight feelings of confusion about it. I had considered delaying my review until a một giây viewing, but I decided to go ahead and write my first impressions of the film.
”QUANTUM OF SOLACE” is obviously a direct sequel of the 21st film in the Bond franchise, ”CASINO ROYALE”. The trước đó movie ended with James Bond’s (Daniel Craig) discovery that the woman he loved – an accountant for the British government named Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) – had betrayed him during his dealings with a banker for terrorist named Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen). Before she committed suicide during his fight against some thugs hired bởi the organization behind Le Chiffre in Venice, Vesper left Bond a name and telephone number that linked to a Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), a business middleman with connections to an organization that finances terrorism. bởi the end of ”CASINO ROYALE”, Bond managed to capture Mr. White with a well placed shot to the latter’s kneecap. ”QUANTUM OF SOLACE” picked up with Bond being chased bởi Mr. White’s associates on a road to Sienna, Italy. After eluding the thugs in a deadly road chase, Bond delivered a wounded Mr. White to a MI-6 an toàn, két an toàn house in the Italian city.
Due to Mr. White’s capture and unsuccessful interrogation, Bond and ‘M’ (Judi Dench) learned that the organization behind the prisoner – Quantum – has many spies planted throughout top-level government agencies around the world. One of those spies turned out to be ‘M’’s bodyguard, who allowed Mr. White to escape via an attack on ‘M’. Bond managed to track down and kill the traitorous Mitchell before he could câu hỏi the man. However, a few banknotes found in the latter’s pockets allowed MI-6 to track down one of Mitchell’s contacts – a man named Slate in Haiti. This encounter with Slate led Bond to a revenge-bent Bolivian Secret Service agent named Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko) and her connections to Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) and Quantum. The rest of the movie focused upon Bond resorting to almost any means possible to learn thêm about Quantum, foil their plans to control the water supply in Bolivia, and help Camille deal with her desire for revenge against General Medrano (Joaquin Cosío), a Bolivian general responsible for her family’s death and who has a business/political arrangement with Greene and Quantum.
I have to admit that I found the story for ”QUANTUM OF SOLACE” to be basically well written. I believe that the screenwriters did a first-rate job in creating a sequel to ”CASINO ROYALE”. Not only did they bring back characters like Mr. White, Rene Mathis and Felix Leiter from the last film, the script even continued the issue of Bond’s relationship with Vesper Lynd and his reaction to her death. Several particular scenes touched upon this continuation: *Mr. White’s mention of Vesper’s death in Venice
*’M’ and Bond’s discussion at MI-6 Headquarters of Vesper’s French-Algerian boyfriend
*Rene Mathis and Bond’s discussion of Vesper during their flight to Bolivia
*Mathis’ insistence that Bond forgive Vesper for her betrayal and himself for being fooled before the former’s death
*Bond’s reaction to Camille’s revelation about her own desire for vengeance against General Medrano
*Bond’s encounter with Yusef, Vesper’s French-Algerian boyfriend and member of Quantum, who was hired to compromise her, at the end of the film
*Shots of Vesper and Yusef in a photograph
*A shot of Le Chiffre on a computer screen.
When I had first learned of rumors that Quantum, the organization behind Le Chiffre, Mr. White and Dominic Greene, would be on the same level as S.P.E.C.T.R.E. from the 1960s films, I nearly had a negative reaction to the idea. The last thing I wanted was for EON Productions to attempt to turn back the clock and rehash old storylines. Fortunately, Quantum seemed thêm representative of the present-day practice of socio-economy bởi multinational corporations than a criminal organization that S.P.E.C.T.R.E. represented. Yet, like many of these corporations, Quantum does not seem above using violence to achieve some of their means. One of my yêu thích scenes about Quantum featured Bond’s discovery of certain members of the organization holding a clandestine meeting during an opera in Bregenz, Austria. Another yêu thích featured a meeting about Bond’s actions between ‘M’ and the Foreign Minister (Tim Pigott-Smith), in which the Minister reminded ‘M’ that they live in times in which governments for countries like the U.S. and Great Britain have a need to cooperate with organizations like Quantum for declining natural resources.
Like ”CASINO ROYALE”, this latest Bond film is blessed with a first-rate cast. Cast members like Judi Dench, Jesper Christiansen, Jeffrey Wright and Giancarlo Giannini repeated their excellent performances. Not only did Dench get a chance to repeat her electrifying chemistry with leading man Daniel Craig, she and Pigott-Smith gave excellent performances in the scene featuring the tense meeting between ‘M’ and the Foreign Secretary. Jesper Christiansen returned in his role as the mysterious Mr. White. Only in this film, he is not as reserved as he had been in "CASINO ROYALE". Still, I could tell that Christiansen seemed to be enjoying himself. The character of Mr. White managed to escape MI-6's clutches after Mitchell's attack upon 'M' and a few other agents. How he managed to achieve this with a busted kneecap is beyond my comprehension.
Not only was I pleased to see Jeffrey Wright reprise his role as Felix Leiter, I was especially pleased that Wright was được trao a chance to expand on his work from the trước đó movie. In ”QUANTUM OF SOLACE”, Leiter and a fellow CIA agent named Gregg Beam (David Harbour) are offering U.S. support to Quantum’s plans to help General Medrano stage a coup in Bolivia for oil leases. This situation allowed Wright to masterfully display Felix’s torn loyalties to what he seemed to consider as a distasteful duty and his newly established friendship with Bond. And it was great to see Giannini return as the wise and always witty Rene Mathis. After his arrest in ”CASINO ROYALE”, MI-6 realized they had been wrong and compensated him with a biệt thự on a small island near Italy. Bond and Mathis make their peace before the former convinces the latter to help him deal with Greene and General Medrano. In one of the movie’s best scenes, Giannini and Craig gave beautiful performances in a scene featuring a heart-to-heart discussion between Mathis and Bond about Vesper aboard a Virgin Airline flight to Bolivia. Giannini had never been better.
Most of the supporting characters in ”QUANTUM OF SOLACE” turned out to be a mixed bag for me. I was impressed bởi Joaquin Cosio’s portrayal of the greedy and ruthless General Medrano, the Bolivian strongman who had murdered Camille’s family and wants Quantum and the CIA’s help to regain power in the country. Instead of indulging in the usual clichés of the archtypical Latin American dictator, Cosio portrayed Medrano with thêm restraint and some intelligence. David Harbour was effective as the smug CIA agent, Gregg Beam, who viewed Bond’s activities as nothing thêm than a threat to his agency’s plans to acquire Bolivian oil leases. On the other hand, I was not impressed bởi Anatole Taubman’s role as Elvis, Dominic Greene’s cousin and henchman. I had no problem with Taubman’s performance. The problem seemed to be that . . . his presence in the movie was useless. It added nothing to the story. I could almost say the same about Gemma Arterton’s role as MI-6 agent, dâu, dâu tây Fields. In fact, I could honestly say that I wish she had never been included in the story in the first place. Her presence in the film was a waste of time. One, she was an unpleasant reminder – at least to me – of those past Bond girls with the ridiculous names and who did nothing thêm than serve as Bond’s giường warmers. This is exactly how Arterton’s character served the movie. Even worse, the discovery of her body covered in oil brought about an unpleasant reminder of the 1964 movie, ”GOLDFINGER”. It was bad enough that the movie’s screenwriters felt they had to pay homage to a past Bond film. But that the movie in câu hỏi turned out to be one that I thêm hoặc less despise was a bit too much for me.
Fortunately, ”QUANTUM OF SOLACE” also featured an impressive Olga Kurychenko as the Bond leading lady, Camille Montes. The Ukrainian-born actress had to adopt a South American accent for the role as the feisty Russian-Bolivian woman who joined her country’s secret service to avenge the deaths of her family bởi killing General Medrano. I had first saw Kurychenko in ”HITMAN” with Timothy Olyphant. Although I found that movie rather mediocre, I was thêm than impressed bởi her diễn xuất skills and her energy, which she effectively infused in her portrayal of Camille. Camille must be the only Bond leading female who has not shared a tình yêu scene with the MI-6 agent. Mind you, Camille is not exactly the most impressive Bond girl I have come across. Her personality struck me as a little too impatient and not very skilled as a killer. But Kurychenko did an effective job of conveying this part of Camille’s nature. Ironically, this served the movie rather well considering that both characters were too obsessed in their goals to even consider romance with each other.
The prevailing view of Mathieu Amalric’s role as Dominic Greene, the film’s main villain, seemed to be divided amongst Bond fans. Some view the character as weak and others seemed very impressed. Count me amongst the latter. I had first been impressed bởi Amalric’s performance in the Steven Spielberg film, ”MUNICH” (in which Daniel Craig also co-starred). My positive view on the actor’s talent continued in ”QUANTUM OF SOLACE”. I realize that many Bond những người hâm mộ seemed to be thêm impressed bởi over-the-top villains. My tastes in villainy seemed to swerve in the opposite direction and I felt thêm than pleased that Amalric’s Greene strongly reminded me of thêm subtle villains like Georgi Koskov, Le Chiffre and Ari Kristatos. Amalric gave a skillful performance of a complex man whose witty persona hid a ruthless and cold-blooded nature.
Finally, we come to the man of the giờ – namely Daniel Craig in his một giây outing as MI-6 agent James Bond. His performance in ”QUANTUM OF SOLACE” was just as superb and breathtaking as his debut performance. I have spent several days trying to find something wrong with Craig’s diễn xuất skills in this film. Honestly. So far, I have yet to find fault with his work. Craig effectively managed to continue Bond’s story bởi conveying the agent’s reactions to the events of ”CASINO ROYALE”. Burned bởi Vesper’s betrayal, Bond has become an angry man who is also grieving over the death of a woman he had loved very much. Although he tries to keep his anger in check and simply do his job in investigating and exposing Quantum, there are times when his emotions threatened to spiral out of control. And Craig did a superb job in projecting this stage in Bond’s emotional state. Once again, the actor gave a performance that certainly deserved recognition bởi the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. And I am quite certain that for the một giây time, he will be ignored bởi them.
As I had stated earlier, ”QUANTUM OF SOLACE” had a good, solid story that could have effectively served as a follow-up to ”CASINO ROYALE” thanks to screenwriters Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis and uncredited writer Joshua Zetumer (uncredited). Remember when I had stated that the movie had left me in a daze? The following is the reason why. Despite the solid screenplay scripted bởi the four writers, director Marc Forster nearly ruined the story’s effectiveness with what I can only describe as a rush job with the help of editors Matt Chesse and Rick Pearson. There seemed to be a lot going in the movie’s plot. But Forster failed to unfold that story with a slower pace that would have served in a thêm effective manner. Instead, the director filled the movie’s first half with a countless of action sequences that almost left me as dizzy as the last two phim chiếu rạp from the ”BOURNE” franchise. It almost seemed as if Forster had channeled Paul Greengrass at the latter’s worst. This was especially true in the movie’s first two sequences – a mind altering car chase from Mr. White’s biệt thự to Sienna and Bond’s pursuit of the traitorous MI-6 agent Mitchell through the streets of Sienna, Italy. bởi the time the movie shifted to Bond’s appearance at Mathis’ Italian villa, I was finally able to catch a breath and enjoy the movie without any accompanying dizzy spells. Another victim of Forster’s fast pacing was the story itself. The plot had nearly fallen victim to Forster’s attempt to be stylish and unique with his fast pace and editing.
Thankfully, not all seemed Mất tích for the film’s action sequences. There were four of them that I found impressive. I enjoyed Bond’s deadly fight with Slate inside the latter’s hotel room in Haiti. I also enjoyed the finale sequence in which Bond dueled against Dominic Greene, while Camille struggled in her attempt to kill General Medrano. But the most effective action sequence – at least for me – turned out to be the aerial dogfight between Bond in a Douglas DC-3 propeller plane and Quantum pilots in both an Aermacchi SF-260 fighter and a chuông, bell UH-1 helicopter. As far as I am concerned, Chesse and Pearson did their best work in this scene. And they were ably assisted bởi Roberto Schaefer’s excellent photography. But the one sequence that really impressed me featured the Bregenz, Austria sequence in which Bond managed to track down several prominent members of Quantum, including Greene. The ironic thing is that I did not like this sequence when I first saw it. My dislike of the sequence eventually disappeared and I grew to appreciate this slightly bizarre and unique sequence in the past few years. And I sadly suspect that such originality will never be seen again in any future Bond movies
James Bond traveled to many locations in this film – Sienna, Italy; Haiti; Bregenz, Austria; back to Italy and Bolivia. Despite this dizzying array of locations, I must admit that I found most of them rather uninspiring aside from Haiti (filmed in Panama) and the Italian location that served as the backdrop for Mathis’ villa. ”CASINO ROYALE” had surprised the world with a very memorable gun following its pre-title sequence. ”QUANTUM OF SOLACE” did the same with a gun barrel sequence near the end of the film. Unfortunately, the latter sequence was not only very ineffective, but rushed . . . just like the movie’s pacing. One major controversy had arisen from the film. Producers Barbara cải xanh, bông cải xanh and Michael G. Wilson had decided to bypass Amy Winehouse as the performer for the film’s theme song and selected Jack White and Alicia Keys. White provided the song, ”Another Way to Die”, and Keys the vocals. Granted, the song is not that memorable to me. It was tolerable, but not memorable. And it is certainly not the worst Bond song I have ever heard. The song, ”Goldeneye”, still holds that honor in my eyes. And quite frankly, I preferred listening to ”Another Way to Die” over watching the horrendous main tiêu đề designs created bởi a company called MK12. From what I understand, Marc Forster had been the one who wanted the company hired for the job, instead of Daniel Kleinman. That man has a lot to answer for.
In the end, ”QUANTUM OF SOLACE” is a memorable follow up to Daniel Craig’s first outing as James Bond, ”CASINO ROYALE” Was it just as good hoặc better than the 2006 film? No. If EON Productions had hired a director thêm suited for action, remove characters like dâu, dâu tây Fields and Elvis from the cast and slowed down the movie’s pace in its first half, it could have been just as good. Instead, ”QUANTUM OF SOLACE” turned out to be a movie that I would rank as ”Very Good”, instead of ”Excellent”.