Quantum of Solace
Owain Paciuszko 09/11/2008
James Bond is back and this time picking things up hours after the close of Casino Royale in direct sequel shocker! We join him zooming round the beautiful Italian countryside in hot pursuit with the mysterious Mr. White in his trunk, at an interrogation White informs Bond (Daniel Craig) and M (Judi Dench) of the even more mysterious organisation Quantum who have people everywhere. What follows is a tale of revenge as Bond seeks to find those responsible for *CASINO ROYALE SPOILER* Vespa's death *CASINO ROYALE SPOILER*. This some how involves the reptilian Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric, star of the beautiful and amazing 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly') who runs some sort of eco-friendly corporation, mwaaahaaahaaaaaaa.
Immediately, and even more apparently than Casino Royale, you can see that this is a post-Bourne Bond. Beyond just approaching the storyline with the immediate continuation in much the same was as The Bourne Ultimatum did it opens with a car chase shot through with similar Paul Greengrass wobbly-cam and moves swiftly on to a rooftop foot chase almost cut-n-pasted from Ultimatum's Tangiers sequence. The economy of story and character on show here is allegedly to present us with a no nonsense, hard edged Bond closer to the character as originally written by Fleming but ultimately renders this film utterly and entirely pointless and unfulfilling.
It is a notable shame that the film's best set-pieces are over and done with fifteen minutes in, that the lack of emotion shown by Craig's brooding Bond and the dearth of time given to every other character - bar M - makes this just a parade of punch-ups and double-crosses with no real purpose, and the intriguing ideas raised by the storyline trundling on in the background are mishandled and forgotten. For example the notion that Quantum has people everywhere seems to be dismissed one chase sequence after its been uttered. I also had slightly more surreal hopes for the purpose of Amalric's Greene, but I think they weren't quite in keeping with the new world of Bond they are trying to create.
To be fair I didn't like Casino Royale, it was post-Bourne without the heart and emotion delivered by the smart, intelligent performance of Matt Damon, and Bond lacks the ingenuity that allows Bourne to get away with not quipping but still entertaining. In fact, as time has gone on I have enjoyed Bond less and less, I think I tried to force myself to enjoy them as a kid as they were on ITV all the bloomin' time, but now that I've regained my free-will and disarmed my television I realise that generally Bond films were overlong, boring and dull (except for Goldeneye which is great).