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Quantum of Solace

2008 James Bond movie, sequel to Casino Royale starring Daniel Craig

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Psychoanalysis of Bond - mostly satisfying, if a bit choppy, continuation of the revamped James Bond series

  • Aug 13, 2009
Rating:
+1
Don't give a license to kill to a man on a vengeance quest. A wounded Bond, stripped of his cool detachment, is a very dangerous agent. Bond fell in love in Casino Royale - the kinetic and intense reboot of the series - and his lover betrayed him and then died violently while he watched helplessly. He needs revenge and closure. There's no quantum of solace for a mourning and betrayed Bond.

The task of this film, it seems, is to bring Daniel Craig's headstrong and impetuous James Bond to some kind of middle ground with the suave, martini drinking, womanizing, calm and collected and deliberate Bond we'd come to know and love (or hate). He needs therapy, but Bond doesn't do therapy. He's got to exorcise his demons in a much more practical and ruthless fashion. The closest he gets to a therapist is with Olga Kurylenko's Camille, whose own revenge quest gives the relentless Bond an occasion to reflect upon what he really wants to achieve, and helps him to move on when he's done.

This is mostly satisfying, though there are several odd and undeveloped moments. Gemma Arterton plays a woman from the embassy, who is expected to detain the fugitive Bond after he'd violently escaped from a whole slew of highly trained agents. It's pretty implausible that anyone who knew anything about Bond would think she could detain him -- except perhaps through her feminine charms, but she does absolutely nothing to seduce him and merely smiles when she is seduced and then puts up hardly any resistance when he refuses to stay in the hotel room. She exists in the film for no other reason that I can discern than simply that everyone expects Bond will seduce somebody in a Bond film -- and he betrays next to no sexual interest in Camille (he breaks off quickly from a single kiss).

What bugged me the most about this film is the editing, especially during the action sequences. The filmmakers were aiming for something akin to The Bourne Ultimatum, but instead of achieving a kinetic flow of action, they seemed merely to chop it up to the point of virtual incoherence. In Bourne it is the documentary style camera work - that feels as if the action is being captured as it occurs, as if there is an inherent unpredictability to the action - that necessitates a more dynamic and unconventional editing style. Here it felt like they had filmed things in the ordinary way and then chopped things up to create a simulacrum of the dynamic flow in the Bourne films. It didn't work. To pull it off with this kind of footage they needed to work more on a rhythm of anticipation and fulfillment, a balance of establishing moments and interruptions into action. I couldn't discern a clear rationale for why they sustained certain (rare) moments (very briefly) and other moments they cut through so quickly they could barely be registered. The ordering of shots made some sense, but the pacing and rhythm struck me as fairly arbitrary. During the action scenes especially, when I should have been engaged, I found myself distracted, counting out how long the cuts were and wishing for more sustained moments, rather than paying attention to the story and the action.

Daniel Craig still managed to pull of the character in a convincing fashion, and Judi Dench continued to prove she was the right choice for M; Olga Kurylenko held her own opposite Craig as something much more than merely a "Bond girl," as did several supporting characters -- such as the excellent Matthieu Amalric as the villian. Not at all bad, but not quite as satisfying as I'd like it to be.

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More Quantum of Solace reviews
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I'm still not sure if I like this more rugged Bond, but this movie kept my attention with the action and plot twists.
review by . December 21, 2009
I've never been a Bond fan - which is kind of sacrilegious to say as a Brit named James - but the plots are starting to circle the toilet bowl. As a piece of history, Bond films seem to be a time capsule of how the British empire sees itself, preventing world domination in the 1960s and 1970s, sorting out the Russians in the 1980s (because the stupid Americans were too vulgar to figure it out), disappearing for 10 years with no explanation, and now back with confused self-confidence and working …
Quick Tip by . May 13, 2010
posted in Bond, James Bond
Great action, but horrible villain. His evil plan was a moderate increase in water prices??
review by . March 28, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Dvd cover
Ian Fleming's James Bond 007, the iconic movie super-agent has had many incarnations. In the character's 22nd feature film, is also the first direct sequel to a previous Bond film. "QUANTUM OF SOLACE" has Marc Forster (Monster's Ball) taking over the director's chair from Martin Campbell (who had directed two other Bond films) and received mixed reactions from critics. After the phenomenal "Casino Royale", expectations were extremely high and audiences were expecting …
review by . March 27, 2009
Any more James Bond movies like this  and the franchise is dead.  Here's what went wrong for me:   Everyone in it is hard. No softies. It's like a conversation where everyone is screaming. You need contrast to make a good movie. Judy Dench is a fine actress but, like everyone else in this movie, she's made of steel.  What  ever  happened to James Bond's witticisms, puns, and other verbal play?    I watched 20 minutes of this and turned to making …
review by . December 29, 2009
Not as good as the first but still an amazing entry in the long running series....
This direct sequel to the smash hit, critically acclaimed Casino Royale is more brutal and action packed than the first and it relies on explosives action sequences and out of control chases to sometimes fill in the gaps of the adequately made plot and story. But is this second installment in the reboot franchise bad? No way!! Is it a great sequel? Not really, but it is a good one at that.            Quantum of Solace was somewhat of a let down in the character …
review by . March 28, 2009
Bond on the run...it sounds like a mid-sixties spy spoof, yet this is the new darker Bond being chased by the good guys as he tries to even the score left unsettled in Casino Royale [Blu-ray].     The secret of the Bond films has always been found in the Bond girls and the chase. Here the girls take a break while James goes rogue and even M can't bring him in from the cold. But the chase, through parts of the world never seen in the series, offers spectacular action and awe-inspiring …
review by . June 13, 2009
I'm pretty shaken I know that.
I am a huge Bond fan.      This movie, a follow up to the amazing Casino Royale was to open on my birthday, and I was all set and raring to go up north and catch this movie on the Ultrascreen for a great Bond time.      To say my birthday was a happy affair would be an undertatement.      There have been bad Bond movies.  Moonraker for it's sillyness, Octopussy for it's overly complex storyline, The World is Not Enough for …
review by . August 16, 2009
I just wanted to watch an action movie. I didn't want anything serious. No puzzles to solve, no angst-ridden protagonists attempting to find reason in the Universe.     "Quantum of Solace" filled the bill perectly.     It is all action. Non-stop action.     Whatever attempt there is to tell a story never intrudes on the action.     James Bond, played to perfection by Daniel Craig, is strong, always coiled, headstrong …
review by . July 28, 2009
posted in Bond, James Bond
I'm pretty shaken, I know that
I am a huge Bond fan.      This movie, a follow up to the amazing Casino Royale was to open on my birthday, and I was all set and raring to go up north and catch this movie on the Ultrascreen for a great Bond time.      To say my birthday was a happy affair would be an undertatement.      There have been bad Bond movies.  Moonraker for it's sillyness, Octopussy for it's overly complex storyline, The World is Not Enough for …
About the reviewer
Nathan Andersen ()
Ranked #74
I teach philosophy at Eckerd College, in Saint Petersburg, Florida.      I run an award-winning International Cinema series in Tampa Bay (www.eckerd.edu/ic), and am co-director of … more
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Wiki

Daniel Craig hasn't lost a step sinceCasino Royale--this James Bond remains dangerous, a man who could earn that license to kill in brutal hand-to-hand combat… but still look sharp in a tailored suit. AndQuantum of Solanceitself carries on from the previous film like no other 007 movie, with Bond nursing his anger from theCasino Royalestoryline and vowing blood revenge on those responsible. For the new plot, we have villain Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), intent on controlling the water rights in impoverished Third World nations and happy to overthrow a dictator or two to get his way. Olga Kurylenko is very much in the "Bond girl" tradition, but in the Ursula Andress way, not the Denise Richards way. And Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, and Giancarlo Giannini are welcome holdovers. If director Marc Forster and the longtime Bond production team seem a little too eager to embrace the continuity-shredding style of theBournepictures (especially in a nearly incomprehensible opening car chase), they nevertheless quiet down and get into a dark, concentrated groove soon enough. And the theme song, "Another Way to Die," penned by Jack White and performed by him and Alicia Keys, is actually good (at times Keys seems to be channeling Shirley Bassey--nice). Of course it all comes down to Craig. And he kills.--Robert Horton
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Details

Director: Marc Foster
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: November 14th 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis
DVD Release Date: March 24, 2009
Runtime: 106 Minutes
Studio: MGM/UA
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