Quantum does little more than provide a few exciting car chases and some serious hand-to-hand fighting strongly reminiscent of the Jason Bourne movies.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like if Jason Bourne were British you’re in luck, because you can find out in the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace. The chronologically immediate follow up to 2006’s Casino Royale, the film finds Bond muter and flatter than ever before as he traverses the globe in tuxedo after tuxedo.
In Quantum, Bond (Daniel Craig) has gone rogue from MI6 to follow the trail of whoever was responsible for the death of his lover from Royale. He is bent on revenge and kills without regret in hopes of getting closer to the truth. Bond’s boss, M (Judi Dench), gives him as much room as she can allow but eventually must cut ties with Bond for his own good and the good of the British government.
What Bond discovers is an international organization only fleetingly referred to as Quantum led by environmentalist/mogul Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) that is taking control of floundering nations by buying and restricting the land’s natural resources. Tagging along with Bond on his mission is Camille (Olga Kurylenko), who has a mission of her own that Bond will be able to help her complete.
Directed by Marc Forster, known for slower, more reflective dramas such as The Kite Runner and Finding Neverland, Quantum is a complete 180-degree turn for the director who is clearly in over his head with the obligatory chase and fight scenes. The action is so frenetic and poorly pieced together that the best shots are lost in cut after cut, so that the viewer is forced to assume what happens because nothing is ever clearly seen. The movie is well shot and Forster can aptly handles the few low adrenaline scenes, but he spends too much time on unexplained chases and not enough on character or story.
Speaking of story, not much is present in this world of 007. Bond is trying to get back at those who led to his girlfriend’s death…and that’s about it. We’re told Bond is overwhelmed with emotion and incapable of moving on without answers, but we never see it. Apparently the solace in the title refers to Bond’s emotions, but we never see him breakdown or even pause for a moment of reflection. Even with the help of Oscar winner Paul Haggis, writer/director of Crash and writer of Million Dollar Baby, the movie develops no characters, no relationships and no motivations outside of revenge and greed.
Craig is fun to watch again, returning as the most physical Bond yet. He does plenty with the little dialogue he is given and is always good for a few one-liners. Amalric is disturbing as the brilliant and dangerous Greene. Most will recognize him from The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, a film he carried while barely moving and speaking only in voiceover. In Quantum, he talks circles around anyone he encounters proving he is smarter than everyone else.
Is Quantum of Solace fun to watch? Of course. After all, it is a James Bond movie. But for hardcore Bond followers and fans of Casino Royale, Quantum does little more than provide a few exciting car chases and some serious hand-to-hand fighting strongly reminiscent of the Jason Bourne movies. | Matthew F. Newlin