Quantum of Solace

James Bond is pissed. I mean really pissed…and we love every second of it.

Really, two things must be pointed out before we begin; firstly, before you head out to see this new James Bond Adventure, you must re-watch “Casino Royale” to be able to follow what is going on, especially the first twenty minutes or so. This film is the first TRUE sequel in the long Bond movie franchise’s history, and it literally begins about five minutes after the previous installment ended 2 years ago. And secondly, we must seek out everyone involved in “The Bourne Identity” trilogy and thank them for forcing the Bond franchise to grow a pair, and become both more physical and more personal.

As stated, the film begins five minutes or so after “Casino Royale” has ended, and Mr. White (Jesper Christiansen) unwillingly rides in the trunk of James Bond’s (Daniel Craig) ashton marton after being shot in the concluding scene of the previous film. White’s guards chase Bond in a thrilling opening pursuit thru tunnells, hills and rocks, before Bond loses his pursuers and brings White to be questioned by “M” (Judi Dench), and others at MI-6. White reveals that he is apart of a secret worldwide organization that neither MI-6 or the CIA seem to be aware of. A mole in MI-6 springs White, nearly kills M, and is shot down coldly by Bond after a thrilling rooftop chase.

That becomes a theme in this new Bond adventure, as the bodycount certainly rises in the wake of all of Bonds movements. Bond is overcome with rage and grief after both the betrayal and death of his lover, Vesper (Eva Green), in the previous film. Determined to find those responsible for putting Vesper in that situation, and clinging to his duty as a secret agent, Bond uses no judgment in spreading pain and torment to those he comes across with during his investigation. Bond wants answers and is willing to spill blood to get them. At one point, Bond enters a suspects hotel room, and after being attacked, slices the mans neck. As the man slowly bleeds to death, Bond merely holds him down and coldly stares at the mans last gasps of air, and then calmly steals the mans jacket. This isn’t your daddies James Bond. He has no gadgets from Q, no cheesy one liners, and no villain of the week style adventures. He has only his rage, and his determination to succeed in bringing the villians to justice, and this is a more serious global world Bond now inhabits.

In the course of his investigation, Bond is drawn into the exploits of Camille (Olga Kurylenko), a Bolivian secret service agent tracking down the man responsible for her families murder years ago. Camille has gone undercover investigating Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), an environmentalist using his company to blackmail countries out of precious natural resources, and who also has some connection the same secret organization that Bond is looking for. Bond and Camille are unwillingly thrown together, both working for revenge first and country second, and both of whom seem to be pursued by all the wrong people. Fearing Bonds emotions are now a liability, MI-6 and the CIA both attempt to hunt down Bond as well, and he is now alone to try and stop the global conspiracy he has uncovered.

While not as good as “Casino Royale,” “Quantum of Solace” is still very good, and is essentially the second half of the previous film. It is a film about loose ends, reconciling grief, and above all else, its a film about Bond trying to move on. While mostly he seems like an out of control agent willing to pound the crap out of everyone in sight, Bond also has profound moments of humility and grief in the film. It is these moments, like in the previous film, where Daniel Craig seals his place as the best bond in the franchise’s history. His humanity comes thru as we see the evolution of Bond from tough secret agent, to wounded lover, to animal killer and finally to the agent we all know and love by the end of the film.

He is chasing the ghost of Vesper the entire film, and to deal with it, and when he can’t find someones flesh to pound, Bond takes up the familiar habits of drinking, sleeping very little and using his natural charms to seduce innocent women into bed. The man is hurting, and you can see it on Daniel Craig’s face the entire film. He so desperately needs answers to quiet Vesper’s ghost around him. He is a man unaccustomed to personal pain on this level. Even when Camille attempts to connect with Bond, trying to help him past his inner demons, Bond immediately cuts her off and simply kisses her, rather than subject himself to the sensitive conversation. He has lost his identity and he tries desperately to get it back, and to also not lose whats left of himself in the process. As he comes to terms with the truth, that Vesper did infact love him, and died for him, Bond inches closer to his redemption.

What is perhaps the most impressive and enjoyable aspect of these latest two Bond films, is that they do indeed connect. We are, for the first time, seeing a sequel…a continuation of the same story. It isn’t about the latest villian or the plot to blow this or that up, its a connected story. In both films now, the pre-credits scene actually matters to the film, and sets up the film, which was rarely ever the case in the older franchise. Action scenes are both spectacular and brutal. This Bond doesn’t mind messing his face up or bruising an arm, this Bond gets things done, and he is almost always a few steps behind, which in its way, justifies his means.

This is a Bond not only out for revenge, but also to make sense of what happened to him, why he was betrayed and why his lover had to die. This means more than anything in any of the other films starring the likes of Connery, Dalton, Moore and Brosnan. The only other time we’ve seen these high of stakes was in George Lazenbys sole film, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” This is Bond thrown into the world we all live in, and the film seems to realistically convey the possibilities that alot of the awful things going on today have a purpose, a sinister and royally f—ed up purpose, but a purpose. This secret organization Bond has uncovered is responsible for things we can’t imagine. They’ve managed to sneak behind the backs of the U.S., Russia and Britain. And even though no one believes him, Bond is on the case and is determined to bring them down and make them pay.

This film also has some of the best action set pieces you’re ever gonna see on film. And, lastly, it must be pointed out that the title is remarkably perfect for this film. This is a film written around Bond’s need for closure and work out his rage. The film is about little side things, and yes it continues a larger story, but it is really about Bond getting past his issues. This is a side of Bond we have never seen before, and will likely never see again. This is the story of where this man goes from being a shattered shell of himself, overcome by grief, and into the worlds premiere secret agent, able to turn his emotions on and off and fool everyone into believing his heart is now made of ice…everyone except for us, and himself.

2 thoughts on “Quantum of Solace”

  1. An excellent follow-up to what was quite possibly the greatest James Bond movie ever made. The revenge angle worked perfectly, and made the character even more realistic and believable. This franchise is definitely heading in the right direction.

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