Quantum of So What…
Quantum of Solace is the second installment in the rebooted 007 franchise starring Daniel Craig as the British spy, James Bond. The film follows the events of Casino Royale, after James Bond has successfully captured Mr. White, the man responsible for killing his former love interest. Bond’s quest for vengeance ultimately leads him to Dominic Green, head of Greene Planet, who supposedly purchases land for ecological preservation. Dominic’s company is actually a cover for his real plans to control the water supply in Bolivia and hold the nation hostage. He is also part of a secret organization called Quantum bent on amassing the world’s resources and power. Along the way, James meets Camille, a woman who works with Dominic Greene and also vengeance in mind. Together, the two attempt to stop Greene and Quantum while searching for peace from their tragic pasts.
Quantum of Solace was a sore disappointment back in 2008 and it still manages to make me cringe 7 years later. Just remember all the great things we talked about in our Casino Royale review. Got it?Great! Now throw it all out the freaking window, because that is what Quantum of Solace did. Some of the best moments in Casino Royale revolved around the genius dialogue of fully realized and lovable characters. For some reason, James Bond felt more like Jason Bourne (They both share the same initials…coincidence…or Quantum?). The influence is evident in the Cloverfield-esque film editing as well as the sudden need for James Bond to kill everything. There is one scene near the beginning of the film, where Bond breaks into an apartment only to be surprised (well, not really since he straight up murders the guy) by an unfriendly visitor. The two exchange blows in a fight that feels almost exactly like when Jason Bourne murders an man with a pen in Bourne Identity. Even the way the two victims flail to the floor and slowly die feels the same. To be honest, I thought the action scenes were pretty amazing. The opening car chase sequence and Bond’s fight with a double agent in Quantum of Solace were intense. Unfortunately, that’s all this film really focused on. It lacked the quieter moments that made Casino Royale such a great film.
Speaking of Casino Royale, remember all those great characters we got? Well, forget them, because they are either buried in a dumpster or hollow shells of their former selves. The only two that seem to carry the weight are Daniel Craig, who plays James Bond, and Judi Dench, who reprises her role as M. Everyone else in this film is very disappointing, and I feel it has more to do with the writing than the actors themselves. Almost everyone looks forward to seeing the Bond women in each 007 film. Vesper Lynd, played by Eva Green, did a phenomenal job in Casino Royale. In Quantum of Solace, we are introduced to Camille, played by Olga Kurylenko who I remember had a minor role in Oblivion, a Sci-Fi film I really enjoyed. Camille is tough and very beautiful like all Bond woman are cast to be. One notable difference is her immense resistance to James Bond’s pelvic sorcery. She is focused on her mission and thats about it. Camille’s character arc is pretty linear: seeking revenge for the death of her family. Camille’s lack of depth make her one of the stalest Bond woman of all time.
Camille isn’t the only one lacking some character. The villain, Dominic Greene, played by Mathieu Amalric also fails to impress. First off his name is “Dominic Greene”…which isn’t at all intimidating. Even Casino Royale gave us a grounded villain named Le Chiffre who was absolutely amazing. Dominic doesn’t have the wit or strength to compete with Bond and that unbalance is felt throughout the whole film. Successful screenwriters understand the importance of elevating the villain in a story. It is why films like The Dark Knight are so wildly popular. We didn’t go to see Christian Bale talk like a 70 year old smoker. We went to see Batman face off against his most dangerous adversary, The Joker, a man who seemed untouchable. Sorry, but Dominic Greene is so far from being anything like the Joker. It is probably one of Quantum of Solace’s biggest failures.
Maybe A Little Too Secret
As mentioned before, Dominic Greene is part of a secret organization named Quantum that has been responsible unrest around the globe. The revelation of Quantum as the puppet master behind the events of Casino Royale was great, however, the film failed to add more past that. A particular scene involves James Bond identifying key members of Quantum, but there is no follow up. The rest of the film focuses on the extremely boring Dominic Greene. I would have much rather had James find out more about Quantum. I am curious as to whether this secret organization has any ties to Spectre, the organization in the film of the same name.
Quantum of Solace Verdict
After rewatching Quantum of Solace, its pretty clear how disappointing this film was. It did not come close to catching the magic that Casino Royale had. The writers and director allowed themselves to be to heavily influenced by modern thriller’s like Bourne and it cost them. Quantum feels less like a Bond film and more like your typical action thriller. With shallow characters, a convoluted plot, and too much editing, Quantum of Solace is the low point in Daniel Craig’s run as James Bond. To no fault of his own. The one upside of Quantum of Solace is that its negative reception caused the producers to rethink Bond and in turn gave us the wonderfully refreshing Skyfall. If you are interested in our take on that film you can read it here! If you missed our review of Casino Royale, read it here!