Film Review: ‘James Bond: Quantum of Solace’

Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Olga Kurylenko, Mattieu Alamric

Originally Released in October 2008

Review by Miriam Atkinson

Quantum of Solace is Daniel Craig’s second James Bond film and starts almost immediately after the events of Casino Royale with a high speed car chase through the mountains. We soon learn that Bond has kidnapped Mr White (first seen in the epilogue of the previous film) and is taking him to be interrogated by MI6. White’s subsequent escape sets the events of the film in motion. This includes Bond going rogue from MI6 only to team up with undercover agent Camille (Olga Kurylenko) in order to uncover the truth about the organisation Quantum and their secret plans to control Boliva’s water supply.

Despite being a direct continuation I don’t believe viewers need to have seen Casino Royale to understand the core of this film. New audience members can deduce that, since Bond is the hero, Mr White must therefore be a villain – even if they don’t know the context for why. Vesper’s fate is shown in flashbacks thus explaining Bond’s turmoil and recklessness for much of the film. The main plotline is fairly self-contained to Quantum and the characters brought over from the previous instalment are given suitable introductions.

Daniel Craig continues to shine as this more physical action orientated Bond who prefers to rely on his own strength and judgment than MI6 and their high tech gadgets. Judi Dench returns again as M, the leader of MI6. She excellently finds the balance between M’s authoritativeness and her continual exasperation at Bond’s antics. Olga Kurylenko is great as Bolivian agent Camille Montes. Her fully fleshed out back story with strong links to Greene’s organisation made her a strong and capable counterpart to Daniel Craig’s Bond. Gemma Arterton is a fun addition to the few scenes she gets as Agent Fields however I do wish she had been given more screen time to develop her character.

Quantum of Solace gets a lot of negativity about being the worst of Craig’s Bond films however I genuine like the film and I don’t think it deserves all the hate it’s gotten over the years.

To be fair Quantum does suffer by being placed between Casino Royale and Skyfall. Both are stronger films so, when viewed in comparison, Quantum is noticeably weaker. Yet when viewed by itself the film does have a lot of good points and scenes.

Let’s talk about the film’s main villain Dominic Greene played by Mattieu Alamric. He’s often considered to be the weakest or most boring of all the villains faced by Craig’s Bond. Like with the film itself, Greene isn’t as impactful when held against Casino Royale’s Le Chiffre or Skyfall’s Silva. Despite this I like the concept behind Greene’s character and as a standalone villain I think he’s actually quite interesting.

Greene isn’t the mastermind behind a secret organisation like Spectre, he doesn’t have a giant death laser, or want to blow up the world or control Earth’s population from a private moon base. He is a corrupt businessman out for profit and personal gain. He saw an opportunity to make money and used his influence and underhand deals to try to make it happen. While most Bond villains are ‘supervillains’ hell bend on destruction, Greene is a villain who could very easily exist in the real world. Arguably he is the most believable of the modern Bond villains which ironically makes him less engaging for a lot of viewers. Personally I thought it was a fascinating twist to make Greene an ordinary man (albeit with a broken moral compass) instead of a psychopath with a complex revenge back story. It widens the scope of what could be done in future films with the idea that anyone could be a villain depending on their decisions and motivations.

Quantum of Solace has everything fans have grown to love and expect from the 007 films. There are plenty of high speed chase scenes – such as the opening chase through the mountains and the later boat escape from Greene’s henchmen. There is spy thriller espionage where Bond alternates between outsmarting and simply overpowering his enemies. While Quantum of Solace may not be many people’s favourite Bond outing I still believe it is a decent and much underappreciated addition to Daniel Craig’s tenure.

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