Quantum of Solace
Directed by: Marc Forster
Starring: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Almaric, Judi Dench
Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some sexual content.
Parental Notes: This is a solid PG-13. The sexual content is not graphic and the violence, while pervasive, is not gory or gratuitous.
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“Quantum of Solace” is the latest installment in the rebooted and more down-to-earth James Bond franchise. Everyone’s back, from Daniel Craig as 007 to Judi Dench as M to Giancarlo Gianni as Mathis, and while you don’t have to have seen “Casino Royale” to enjoy “Quantum of Solace,” it might help a bit. This is less a sequel and more a continuation of the previous story.
As M aptly puts it, in this film Bond is so full of inconsolable rage that he doesn’t care who he hurts. In “Casino Royale” he fell deeply in love and the girl died; “Quantum of Solace” follows his attempts to avenge her. Luckily for Bond, events provide him with an excuse: it is revealed during an interrogation that the mysterious organization which got Bond’s beloved killed has operatives everywhere, and one of those operatives tries to kill M.
Craig continues to effortlessly blend sheer savagery with the more traditional Bond suaveness and charm. The best example of this may be the many fight scenes: sure, Bond has lots of training and executes martial arts moves with great accuracy and efficiency, but he’s just as likely to pick up any object at hand and slam it into his opponent’s head. If he seemed rough around the edges in “Casino Royale,” he’s positively serrated in “Quantum of Solace.”
This is not the one-liner spouting, womanizing Bond of previous actors; this is Craig’s Bond, who is slowly evolving into the experienced agent we know from the later stories in the continuity. Sure, he drinks martinis — but he drinks too many of them trying to soothe the ache of his loss. Bond’s a stiff-upper-lip type in general, but Craig is a good enough actor to give us glimpses of the emotions hidden under that icy exterior, and Bond’s grief and fury over the loss of Vesper are all the more powerful for being understated.
Bond’s investigation of the mysterious organization takes him to Bolivia, where he meets Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko, “Max Payne”), a beautiful woman with a revenge mission of her own. The remainder of the film is a mash of double-crosses and revelations that doesn’t lend itself to a summary or even to perfect understanding, but if you’re willing to go along for the ride, you’ll have a good time. “Casino Royale” had its incorrect poker depictions; “Quantum of Solace” has more complexities than you can shake a martini at.
It also has that up-close, frenetic cinematography that’s in so many modern films. It puts you in the moment, mimicking the view one gets in a real fight or chase, but it can make things a little tricky to follow and makes it difficult to enjoy the fight choreography properly. Still, the stunts and fights are fairly breathtaking, from the astonishing car chase which opens the film to the mano-a-mano fight in an exploding hotel which closes it.
“Quantum of Solace” is not a traditional Bond film any more than “Casino Royale” was, and fans who disliked that in the previous film should probably stay away. Those in search of a piece of great art to watch would also be better served elsewhere — while this is less silly than previous Bond films, it’s not exactly “Citizen Kane.” This is a thoroughly enjoyable action and espionage film, and a solid followup to “Casino Royale.”