Directed by: Marc Forster
Premise: The twenty-second James Bond film, following 2006’s Casino Royale. Bond (Daniel Craig) tracks the people who killed Vesper, his love interest in the previous film, and uncovers a plot by members of Quantum, an international terrorism ring, to stage a coup in Bolivia and take control of its natural resources.
What Works: Daniel Craig returns as Agent 007 and continues to develop this incarnation of the character into one of the most interesting spies on film. Craig is easily the most interesting Bond since Roger Moore and like Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace makes Bond face the personal consequences of his profession with everything from his relationships with women to his professional conduct suffering from his need to stifle emotion.
What Doesn’t: Quantum of Solace is rather disappointing as an action film and as a mystery. The film is not very successful at conveying the puzzle Bond has to uncover. The exposition is clumsily handled and the story jerks the audience around from one place to another with no sense of purpose. Exactly who Bond is chasing and why is never clear. The action scenes are not very inspired, showing a lot of influence from other action films, namely a parachute scene from Eraser and the rooftop chase in The Bourne Ultimatum. Aside from the derivative nature of the action scenes, their editing and cinematography are clumsy and nauseating and become a lot of aural and visual noise with no sense of direction. The characters are also lifeless; where Bond is a dynamic character who is forced to balance personal and professional priorities, the characters around him are flat and uninteresting. For a spy film there is little intrigue either between the characters or in the mystery that Bond has to uncover. With no tension in the plot and nothing apparently at stake, the story gets more and more haphazard as it goes on, jumping from one action sequence to the next with very little to sustain the film between each set piece.
Bottom Line: Quantum of Solace is a disappointment. It is not terrible and 007 fanatics will probably want to check it out but as an action film and as a Bond film this is a big step backwards.
Episode: #215 (November 23, 2008)