May 06, 2012

Quantum of Solace

Quantum of Solace (2008) is an absorbing, fairly compact sequel to Casino Royale, and its story feels stronger, or perhaps just more focused and driven, because 007 is looking for vengeance for a lover who he's not sure even loved him. It may be that people are hailing Daniel Craig as the best of the Bonds because he's playing a Bond who is genuinely affected by the things that happen to him. He's not a sitcom character whose slate is wiped clean at the end of each episode. And Craig looks the part. His face looks hardened and dazed, like a junkie whose addiction is used to ameliorate other pains. But he's also a striking actor, who doesn't botch the character by over-thinking it. After all, the allure of the Bond films has always been an artificial one, and to turn him into a completely "realistic" character would probably destroy that sense of artificiality that makes Bond superhuman. He's a superhero who doesn't need capes or magic or any kind of supernatural powers, and he has enough moral ambiguity to not be a cop-out.

Director Marc Foster seems tuned into what will make this movie work. He doesn't drag things out as much as Martin Campbell did in Casino. Quantum has a more engrossing sense of mystery about it than Casino Royale, even though Casino may be more memorable as an action thriller. It did have some stunning set pieces. Quantum does too, and it also taps into the growing anxiety about the environment as an impetus for international criminal activity, as Bond targets a multinational corporation run by Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) that's trying to control the world's oil and water supplies. There's also a subplot about a scummy dictator named Medrano (Joaquin Cosio) who murdered the family of Bond's latest conquest, Camille (Olga Kurylenko). She wants revenge, and this unites her with Bond on a considerably personal level.

Judi Dench returns as M. Her imposing personality is always worth watching on the screen, and she continues to have a fascinating relationship with Bond that is a partly maternal, partly manipulative, and partly malicious.

Written by Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis, and Robert Wade. With Giancarlo Giannini, Jeffrey Wright, Gemma Arterton, David Harbour, Jesper Christensen, and Rory Kinnear. Stunning visuals, designed by the company MK12 accompany the films opening titles.

No comments: