Overlooked Film of the Week- #76
Quantum of Solace
So far, in the career of Daniel Craig as James Bond, it seems everybody always shits on "Quantum of Solace."
I never quite understood all the hate. Sure, it feels like another half of "Casino Royale," but I never found that to be something bad. I liked that, for the first time in this series, that Daniel Craig's run at the character felt like something coherent. I have the entire James Bond movie collection, and while I love watching every adventure, the series is disjointed as a whole. There is absolutely no effort put towards making anything stick together. The James Bond movies have always felt like one long television series. When Daniel Craig got the part, it started to feel like a story was starting to take shape and I liked that a lot.
"Quantum of Solace" begins minutes after the conclusion of "Casino Royale." James Bond has Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) locked in his trunk, waiting to be interrogated by M (Judi Dench). Bond is trying to understand just what Mr. White's organization is, and what it wants to do. He still feels determined to understand what happened to Vesper Lynd, his lover from "Casino Royale" played by Eva Green. The secrets to unlock Mr. White's shadowy organization proves less than easy, and soon enough Bond is on an adventure. This thrill-ride brings Bond to Bolivia where environmentalist Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) is making a deal with a Bolivian general for a piece of desert, the general gets the government. There is something much more sinister planned for the desert and it is up to Bond to figure it out. He receives the help of Camille (Olga Kurylenko), who watched the Bolivian general kill her parents as a child, and now is seething with revenge.
I have heard many complaints that "Quantum of Solace" has no plot, I can always feel my eyes roll when people say that. It may not be the flashy kind of story-telling we are accustomed to when we watch Bond movies, but "Quantum of Solace" has a plot. I think what throws people off is that Quantum was never a stand-alone story like all the other Bond movies. "Quantum of Solace" is a continuation of the events from "Casino Royale." Bond is finishing the mystery of that story and it boils into "Quantum of Solace." "Quantum of Solace" feels like "The Two Towers" of the Bond franchise and I never got why that was so terrible. Plus, I never understood how Quantum wasn't cool as an idea. If we don't see more of Quantum in the future, I fear it might be the biggest missed opportunity for this franchise. I think the organization would be the perfect way to update SMERSH or SPECTRE. Plus, the organization presents something terrible, that there might be a point to the world financial problems, wars, terrorism and the other world issues. It presents the idea that if one group controls all of the goods and services in the world, then they indeed rule the world. I find that more interesting than a mad scientist creating a death ray that blows up the White House. I hope we see more of this organization in the future.
Daniel Craig gives a great Bond performance. I also love the smirky, sleazy work by Mathieu Amalric. He is a wonderfully creepy presence in the movie, and he seems to love the idea of playing a murky villain. I like that he is a Bond villain with no particular gimmick, that it wouldn't seem that he would be criminal mastermind but he is. Kurylenko may not be playing the usual Bond girl, but she sure does look good. I like that she has some badass-ness up her sleeve and that she is not some nameless girl that Bond sleeps with. She is given some depth, some real thematic meat and I loved that.
So while many find "Quantum" to be the worst of Craig's Bond films so far, here is how I beg to differ.