Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Quantum of Solace

A disappointing second leg after an amazing start...

Beginning very soon after the events of Casino Royale, James Bond (Daniel Craig) has kidnapped the notorious Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), only to learn that there is a secret organization which has infiltrated various levels of social order around the world. Seeking revenge for the death of Vesper and more information on this organization, Bond goes on a rampage and discovers an interesting connection to philanthropist Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric).

Continuing off the intriguing storyline left from Casino Royale, it was expected that Quantum of Solace would continue to showcase quality story telling. With a run time that is 40 minutes less and with more action sequences, it becomes painfully obvious three quarters through the film, that the scriptwriters had no real intention of telling a cohesive story, and even less desire to create any characterization, the most prominent perhaps coming from Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) but even then its only because we knew so little of him from the previous film. All Quantum of Solace ends up showing is that there is indeed a bigger organization of villains. The events which are undertaken in the story are interesting to a point yet instead serves more as a backstage for the side story of Camille (Olga Kurylenko), which itself is very unimportant to the greater scheme of things, though it's nice to see a Bond woman get a more fleshed out story then in previous incarnations. Even the story arc that relates back to Vesper seems unimportant until the films end: it was a major arc going into the film but is somewhat underplayed. Another slight problem comes from scene advancement being inadequate a times. In one scene Bond will have no access to any money, and in the next he'll be driving a new vehicle with a new suit. While this is not exactly what happens, the description is not far off: there are just too many scenes which don't gel logically. But there are a few noteworthy additions to the story. M and Leiter seem more important to the story this time around, M a little too much perhaps. Leiter's character is more ambiguous this time and has a story arc of his own; in fact it should be said that lesser characters are given some story time but neither of them truly affect the plot much. On another positive note there is more humour in the story this time around, especially involving the expected Bond quip after a dispatch. It is just a pity that the film doesn't use up more time to flesh out the story more. However it is very possible that the film is merely a bridge to the third entry. If this is the case, then Quantum of Solace serves it's purpose as the action story that connects the two more story focused entries. However this will only work if the next film brings back the intrigue of Casino Royale and allows for some character development. 

Thankfully the action sequences are bigger and better then those in Casino Royale. While the chase scene feels awfully ripped from the previous film, there is more variety in what is shown, such as the various vehicle scenes. Though at times the action does seem somewhat muted. It looks good most of the time, but it feels like the director is trying to much to make Bond feel like other modern spy flicks, such as the Bourne trilogy, instead of trying to make Bond feel like Bond. So while the many action sequences are fun to watch, they do not help give the film a distinct feel. There is no major problem to the Bourne-like makeover Bond has gotten, especially for the character at this time in his career, as it allows him to come across as more brutal, but this nonetheless takes away from his charm. Even the recently released Taken with Liam Neeson proves more viable at this type of action then James Bond.

Sadly the staple intro sequence of the film is underwhelming, both with its music and animation, which had far too much of Craig holding a gun, but thankfully had the female silhouettes missing from Casino Royale's intro.

On the acting front, Quantum of Solace is adequate. Dench is once again amazing as M, and Craig portrays his Bond well. But aside from the minimal character development his character has towards the end of the film, it is still debatable whether he could pull off a traditional Bond instead of a normal action hero as he is currently doing: problematic since the currently written Bond feels nothing like James Bond, and hasn't developed from his prior outing. Giannini and Wright are as good as they were before. Kurylenko is an interesting addition and her character, Camille, gets a lot of time to be developed as a feasible character in the Bond universe. Her motivations in the story are somewhat clich├ęd and forced, and Kurylenko is not the best actress for the role, but she does a decent enough effort to make the character passable. Her most intriguing aspect is her somewhat similar situation to Bond. There is a nice scene shared by the two, mimicking a scene between Bond and Vesper a little too much, but it helps develop Bond as still having some form of humanity. Mathieu Amalric as the villain Dominic Greene, is also another decent affair. He is no where near as villainous as Le Chiffre and as such there's little for Amalric to do with the character except play him out as more of a caricature, and in this sense, he succeeds.

There is some sexual content, along with some language and violence. The latter involving vehicle crashes, gun fire and melee combat, but none of which is overly violent.

Quantum of Solace is a fun film to watch but don't expect to hold the same level for depth as Casino Royale. The film is a disappointment since it had so much to expand upon but ultimately doesn't. The action is great, if unoriginal at times, and the acting is solid. But the film fails in the story and character departments, two elements which made Casino Royale so refreshing, though there are a few facets which make Quantum of Solace a better title such as the added humour and extra action sequences. As a standalone, the film does not quite not work, feeling seemingly out of place, but as a bridging film it does, and hopefully it is. But this will only work if the third film can correct the mistakes in this title, either via technique or narrative, and thus allow a potential trilogy to be solidly sound.


Screen date: 19 November 2008
Release date: 21 November 2008


Farzan said...

Good review Cruiz, its always nice to hear another persons opinion on a film.

movie download said...

I really like James Bond films as they are full with action and difficult stunts.I like the way professional perform their job.its not an easy job.I like this movie.