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Quantum of Solace (12a): is it any good?

Nicola Mostyn likes it cool, blue-eyed and deadly

Published on October 31st 2008.

Quantum of Solace (12a): is it any good?

So. What is going on with that title? On first (and second and, indeed, twenty second) hearing, the words Quantum and Solace just don’t sound right together. It’s like exit of marmalade or brains of Louis Walsh. It just doesn’t make sense.

Actually, the title was nabbed from an Ian Fleming short story, and was reputedly suggested by Daniel Craig himself, who wanted to avoid any more predictable Die Till You’re Dead-type titles, preferring instead one which sounds like it may have been conceived whilst stoned or randomly generated by a computer programme.

Still it grabs the attention and highlights a new phase for the Bond films, one instigated by the introduction of blonde, blue eyed Bond Daniel Craig in 2006’s Casino Royale. Directed by Mark Forster (the Kite Runner), Quantum of Solace sees the return of Daniel Craig’s as 007 and by now his dissenters have been all but silenced. Craig has brought something new to the role of Bond and in doing so has driven a change in the films themselves. This is evident from the extremely long and stylish openings credits which play out like a super-cool prog-rock homage set to a Bond theme delivered by Jack White and Alicia Keyes, the latter which, like Craig as Bond, shouldn’t work but really, really does.

The narrative of the film continues on from Casino Royale and there’s a real sense of this from the opening scene in which we are landed bang in the middle of a crunching, casualty-ridden car chase. Because the Bond films may have become cool, but Quantum of Solace has lost none of the trademark aspects of the genre which fans adore so much - there are rooftop chases, murderous grapplings, explosions, shootings and magnificent falls aplenty.

There’s still humour, too, but rather than coming from the old style Bond whose eyebrow was cocked as often as his gun (and something else in his pants), the laughs are now down to M (Judi Dench) who does a magnificent line in wry, black humour.

The glamour and the intrigue are all present and correct too, with some lovely lines conjuring up how we want to believe the world of espionage works (like M demanding “get me the Americans”) and a tantalising central plot of an organisation - the Quantum of the title - so secretive and dastardly that even MI6 don’t know they exist.

And then there’s Bond himself. Having won fans with his steely Bond in CasinoRoyale, Craig is, if anything, even colder this time around. Mourning thebetrayal by and death of the woman he loved, this Bond kills like the trained assassin he is. Ruthlessly with just a touch of nonchalance. As his beautiful ally and partner in vengeance Camille (Olga Kurylenko) says at one point: “There’s something horribly efficient about you.” And it’s true. Like Javier Bardem’s character in No Country For Old Men, this Bond shows that there’s something innately chilling about a killer who seems detached from the job in hand.

So, all the ingredients are there to make this an incredibly impressive film. And indeed, almost every aspect of this film was note perfect, with the exception of the plummy redhead given the unlikely task of demanding Bond’s return to the UK, a character seemingly crowbarred in just to provide Bond with a shag.

That aside, the film is beautifully choreographed, pacey, stylish, cool and thematically clever. But…there was something lacking. It was partly to do with the secret organisation-plot which delivered less intrigue than it promised. Or more likely it was that at no point did I fear for Bond safety. Yes, he is the best in the business and yes, we all know that Bond can’t die, but it should still be possible to feel that he is in danger. And while the main threat to Bond seemed to be that he might lose touch with his own humanity, and while this is a laudable theme, that isn’t quite as memorable as watching 007 on a conveyer belt being slowly wheeled towards a gigantic saw or similar.

This is a really enjoyable, well produced film that whizzes by in a whirl of colour and energy and fantastic action, but I could have done with just a little more emotional engagement. You know, just a quantum.


Quantum of Solace is on general release now

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9 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Sally CinnamonOctober 31st 2008.

It's not a bad film, quite enjoyable, but not a great film and def not a great Bond film. To pass the time I particularly enjoyed counting the product placement. Bring back the Vodka Martini, and stop asking for Gordans and vodka for God's sake. To enjoy the film you would need to remember all the details of Casino Royale, especially the boring bit in Venice we all dozed off for.Weakest Bond baddie ever as well. You kept waiting for the top dog baddie to turn up, but no, he was it.The appalling Mills and Boon-style dialogue for any mention of Bond's dead lover made me put my fingers in my ears, Daniel Craig is a great actor (and incidentally stunning) he shouldn't be subjected to it. It reminded me of the Anakin Skywalker in a meadow scenes from Star Wars.Lastly, we've had enough of the Bourne style shooting of action scenes. Yes it's all very clever, but you can't actually tell what's going on.Still, Daniel Craig with his top off, wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Poor man's BondOctober 31st 2008.

Great film, much grittier, loved it.

Claire BearOctober 31st 2008.

What a let down, no story line, a bit wishy washy, good action scenes though!!!

chrissyOctober 31st 2008.

decided to see this film .thought it was okay

seabeeOctober 31st 2008.

does anyone know when this will be on telly as i cant be arsed going out and even if i wanted to go out i couldnt as i am in broadmoor secure unit at the moment.have to go now time for my electric shock treament.p.s sweet dreams folks.

veteryOctober 31st 2008.

Weak ending I thought, but I hadn't seen the previous movie

johnthebriefOctober 31st 2008.

It's worth seeing but it's not as good as Casino Royale.

AnonymousOctober 31st 2008.

i didn 't think it was a s good as Casino Royale. Not as much sex as there should be in a Bond film these days!

maxOctober 31st 2008.

The name's Bourne. Jason Bourne.

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