Quantum of Solace
Film review by: Witney Seibold
Here are two proposed theme tunes from “Quantum of Solace” by British comedians Adam & Joe.
Most James Bond films stand autonomously, separate but connected, giving us the overthrow of a major villain at the end of each, and a general sense that the world is now at peace, and things have returned to normal. “Quantum of Solace,” the follow-up to the Bond reboot “Casino Royale” (2006), is the first Bond film to be a true sequel. This seems like a mistake. This new Bond is not a smirking funster, easily dodging bullets and exploding buildings, only pausing to adjust his tie. He is a vengeance-minded bully. In “Casino Royale,” this seemed like a breath of fresh air; many were growing weary of the comicbook Bond of old. In “Quantum of Solace,” picking up only a few moments after “Casino Royale” ended, this new Bond already feels a bit tired, as he has become indistinguishable from any vengeance-minded action scowler. How long before he simply becomes Paul Kersey? Or Harry Callahan for that matter?
James Bond is still hunting down the bad guy who killed his girlfriend from the last film. While on the hunt, he stumbles upon a plot by the mysteriously sinister Dominic Green (Matthieu Almaric from “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”), and his mysteriously sinister plot to buy up large tracts of land in Bolivia for mysteriously sinister purposes. Bond’s boss M (Judi Dench) is constantly furious with him, and thinks he has gone rogue, when he’s really just using his on-the-edge Jack Bauer resourcefulness to hunt down the bad guy. But not without abandoning his scheme for vengeance, in the hopes that it’ll give him a quantum of something. Bond also runs into a swarthy Russian (?) babe named Camille (Olga Kurylenko) who is also in a hunt for vengeance, and they spend much of the film together, although they never have sex.
Bond does get to bed a really hot redhead named Agt. Fields (Gemma Arterton), and I wish we could have seen more of her; she was hotter than the hot Russian chick. Also appearing is a woefully underused Jeffrey Wright as a CIA man. A few of my friends have said they want a film featuring just Wright’s character. He deserves one.
“Quantum of Solace” is the shortest of the Bond films, and it feels swift and dully efficient. It has all the compulsory Bond elements (glob trekking, exciting chases, wicked plots by Eastern Europeans), but all presented with an unusual brutality (part of the “reinvention”), and a strange disinterest in the proceedings. Director Marc Forster (“Monster’s Ball”) seems to be glad that he had the opportunity to make an action blockbuster, but is floundering to keep his head above water; I think he may be out of his element. By the time we get to the end of its 100 minutes, we are neither exhilarated nor dissatisfied; the film is not good enough to be recommended nor is it mediocre enough to be lambasted. It’s a merely competent actioner which only incidentally features a beloved action-film icon.
Since it has recently been added to the OED, I don’t feel mawkish in using the following word to describe this film: