james bond Quantum of Solace
dir Marc Forster
scr Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade
with Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench, Gemma Arterton, Giancarlo Giannini, Jeffrey Wright, David Harbour, Jesper Christensen, Tim Pigott-Smith, Rory Kinnear, Glenn Foster
release UK 31.Oct.08, US 14.Nov. 08
08/UK MGM-Columbia 1h46
Quantum of Solace
Still looking fabulous: Craig and Kurylenko

amalric dench arterton
Casino Royale (2006) Skyfall (2012)
London film fest
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Quantum of Solace With an intriguingly internalised central plot and outrageously exhilarating action, the new Bond movie is grittier and faster than we expect. And that much more engaging as a result

After the death of his girlfriend Vesper, James Bond (Craig) is consumed with a desire for vengeance, and his boss M (Dench) encourages this obsession until the body count gets a bit too high to justify. In Haiti, Bond meets Camille (Kurylenko), a Latina on her own private mission involving the extremely devious Dominic Greene (Amalric), a wheeler-dealer who has several governments in his pocket. The chase leads to Austria, Italy and finally a grand stand-off in Bolivia.

Director Forster takes a leaf from the Bourne movies, with kinetic, stunt-driven chase scenes and an involving personal quest. The action scenes are breathtaking, shot and edited with a rare coherence that pulls us straight in. The first big set piece, a foot chase across Sienna, is simply astonishing. And there's much more to come, from Bond's clever trick to grab a passing motorbike to an eerie nod to Goldfinger.

Meanwhile, the dialog is packed with dry humour (but no cheap throwaway gags). The plot exposition is fairly incomprehensible, but then the global conspiracy is only a subplot, while the commentary on governmental collusion is only subtext. This is a story about James Bond exorcising his personal demons, and Craig clearly relishes the double challenge of introspective drama and high action. He's much more commanding in the role this time, more relaxed and even sexier.

And he gives Bond a remarkable gravitas that works brilliantly opposite Dench's dryly efficient M, as well as Arterton in a smaller role as an officious British operative in Bolivia. Meanwhile, Kurylenko is given a much more robust role than we usually get with Bond girls, including a personal quest all her own. And Amalric creates one of the slimiest Bond villains ever.

But of course we don't watch Bond movies for the subtext (this is merely a bonus). What we want is action, wit and offbeat conspiracies. And this film is packed with those as well. There are chases by car, foot, boat and air in this film, plus a mind-bogglingly explosive climactic set piece in an isolated desert resort. And as the dark tone feels like the middle chapter in a trilogy, it definitely leaves us wanting more.

cert 12 themes, strong violence 17.Oct.08

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Quantum of Solace Michelle Cohen, Newbury Park: 4/5 "I'd heard a lot of negative things about QoS and so was surprised to find that I really liked it. Once I'd got used to the frenetic action shots, I became enveloped in Bond's desire for revenge/peace. Really enjoyable and a good set up for the next film." (24.Nov.08)
© 2008 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall