JT Film Review

47 – Quantum of Solace (2008)

Quantum of Solace REVIEW

3.5/5 stars

Director – Marc Forster

Cast – Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Judi Dench, Mathieu Amalric, Giancarlo Giannini, Jesper Christensen

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– follows Casino Royale (2006)

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Quantum of SolaceQuantum of Solace is the sequel to 2006’s acclaimed Bond film Casino Royale. It is also the first direct sequel to a Bond film, as the action picks up minutes after the ending of the former movie. The director is Marc Forster, the director of films such as Finding Neverland, The Kite Runner, and Monsters Ball. The decision to use a director known for character dramas was certainly an interesting one, and in certain ways it pays off well. And in others it definitely doesn’t.

I’ll start with the good. The acting is top notch throughout. Judi Dench and Daniel Craig (whose relationship keep the plot going and forms the base for the whole movie) are both excellent. Daniel Craig is in my opinion the best Bond we have seen yet. Much of the reason for this is that the two recent Bond movies know what they want with Bond. Many of the older James Bond movies seem to alternate between serious and campy fun, while these movies go right for the jugular with their dramatic story lines and action scenes. Daniel Craig has the perfect amount of “craggy-ness” and revenge driven angst for this role, and yet still has a dash of the classy Bond we all know.

Judi Dench is totally believable as M, Bond’s strict no nonsense boss. As a major plot point she turns her back on Bond after he kills one lead too many. The move is quickly decided, ruthlessly yet dispassionately acted out, and utterly professional. She is both an inspiring and intimidating figure. This M is a boss no one would want; but then again this Bond is an employee no one would want either.

The villain is also wonderfully performed by Mathieu Amalric (mostly known for his role in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. The goal of the villainous organization (Quantum) is remarkably prescient, and touches on some quite modern themes of oil and water control.

The story itself is interesting and involving, but it takes a couple viewings to fully grasp, as the pacing of the movie makes some smaller details go by too fast to get. There are some nice dramatic beats and the dialogue scenes are excellent, and the whole second act (where we see the build up of Bond’s anger)is great to watch; this is where Marc Forster shows off his dramatic roots. The character of Bond really works better as an angry killing machine. I personally like this Bond much better than Sean Connery’s incarnation.

quantum-of-solaceAnd here we go to the bad stuff; and that would be the action scenes. The choreography itself is wonderful, and Craig is wonderful as the uber-fit tank of a man that this Bond has become. However the scenes are cut so fast that is is essentially IMPOSSIBLE to see a single flipping thing! Rarely is there a scene where we can tell where Bond is, where whichever particular henchman he is fighting is, or who is doing what to whom. The purpose of cutting in an action scene is to make the action seem fast, to give it momentum and “make it look cool”. However it would have had a much bigger impact on the audience if we could actually see the cool things that Bond and Co. is doing. To put it simply the atrocious editing almost ruins the whole movie. If the action had been better cut I think this would be the best Bond movie we have seen yet.

Another thing about the action; several times throughout a fight scene or chase Forster cuts it together with an opera performance, or a horse race. Forster is saying to us “Hey audience, a foot chase is like a horse race, and look! Bond taking revenge is like the third act of Tosca! Oooooooh I’m deep….”. Except he isn’t saying it. He is screaming it. Unintelligibly. And not only can we not see the action we can’t see the horse race or the opera well either. It would have been pretentious if it had worked, but is half way there anyway.

Although it doesn’t matter. Unless you have eyes that work intelligibly at 300 frames a second you’ll probably miss it anyway.

OVERALL

This movie is the best Bond movie I haven’t seen, as the ludicrously fast editing almost ruins the action scenes. With a better editing sense this would have been a great movie. But unfortunately because of such a small but vital mistake we get a watchable movie, yes, but also the realization of what a good movie this could have been. And it’s pretty darn depressing.

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TRAILER

“Quantum of Solace” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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September 21, 2009 - Posted by | 3.5 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Action, Year - 2000-2009 | , , , ,

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