“As the opening credits of Quantum of Solace whir and spin about the screen in that oh-so-classic, uniquely-Bond style, many thoughts move similarly about my head (that’s right, my thoughts dance). I wonder to myself, will this film be any good? Will it pick up where Casino Royale left off? Will I find out what the hell a Quantum of Solace is? Come the roll of the movie’s closing credits, I have answers to my questions.””
As the opening credits of Quantum of Solace whir and spin about the screen in that oh-so-classic, uniquely-Bond style, many thoughts move similarly about my head (that’s right, my thoughts dance).
I wonder to myself, will this film be any good?
Will it pick up where Casino Royale left off?
Will I find out what the hell a Quantum of Solace is?
Come the roll of the movie’s closing credits, I have answers to my questions. Yes, yes, and yes.
Quantum of Solace is the second in a series of re-imagined Bond films that began back in 2006 with the blockbuster hit Casino Royale.
By having Daniel Craig play the part of a rougher and tougher Bond who out-punches quite a few of his predecessors, both Casino and Quantum alike take the character back to his early days at MI6 but, to the confusion and dismay of some longtime fans, choose to do so in the present.
Put another way, Bond was, for all intents and purposes, reborn back in 2006, at the age of thirty-eight.
That year, he lost the love of his life, a treasury agent by the name of Vesper Lynd and, as a result, hasn’t really been the same since.
Fast-forward to 2008.
According to Bond-time, not a single second has passed since the close of Casino.
In the one hour and forty minutes that is Quantum of Solace, a disconsolate and altogether emotionally-devastated Bond seeks to exact penalties-both physical and psychological-on those parties responsible for Vesper’s death.
Whether embroiled in a car chase in Sienna, a knife-brawl in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, or in high-stakes hand-to-hand combat in La Paz, Bolivia, Bond keeps his sights on two men: Dominic Greene, the scheming CEO of an allegedly earth-friendly corporation, and General Medrano, the ousted but resilient former dictator of Bolivia.
Together, these two tyrants endeavor to manipulate the US and British governments into supporting a soon-to-be staged coup which would, if successful, wreak havoc on the ecology and economy of the developing South American state.
Bond, however, has other plans for the men and their beloved Tierra Project-plans that involve reconnaissance, espionage, and-but of course-lots and lots of shock-and-awe gunplay.
When judged alongside the two and a half hour-long Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace is comparably short, but what it lacks in length, it more than makes up for in style.
To start, Quantum’s plotline is one of few in the franchise’s twenty-two movie history that isn’t needlessly convoluted or altogether impossible to follow.
If you read the preceding paragraph, you will understand Quantum of Solace.
Further, director Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, Stranger than Fiction) does a superb job with the film’s cinematography and shot composition.
His clever juxtaposition of the civil with the violent (e.g. street level horse races with subterranean sewer chases) is, on its own, utterly remarkable; given that he pulls this off in a Bond film, it is something not to be missed.
Pure icing on the cake, Quantum of Solace is as perfectly paced as it is emotionally rich.
Though Vesper is gone, Bond’s new leading lady, Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko), proves a worthy replacement and a paradox in her own right, being at once strong-willed yet emotionally crippled.
Still, is she-or anyone for that matter-up to the task of comforting Bond, of restoring his faith in women?
When all is said and done, who is it that can provide 007 with a measure of support, a degree of consolation, a-yes, that’s right-quantum of solace?
The film hits theaters Friday.