Pleasurable and Satisfying

Be prepared for a few changes in this new entry of the Bond canon. James Bond is back, and this time it’s extremely personal. The rugged, harsh, and rough agent picks up exactly where he left off in another striking thriller that leaves you feeling exhausted, if not exhilarated.

Up to this time, the Bond canon entries have been a series, but Quantum of Solace is actually a sequel. Still raged by the death of Vesper Lynd in Siena, bereaved and blooded James Bond (Daniel Craig), goes after the shady international organization he holds responsible, even when M (Judi Dench) orders him to stand down. As promised at the end of Casino Royale, the film opens with a spectacular car chase before the revelation that Quantum, with agents in Her Majesty’s Government and the CIA, the organization that blackmailed Vesper, is far more labyrinthine and intricate, let alone momentous and far-ranging than anyone had imagined.

Forensic evidence of an MI6 traitor leads him to Haiti, where he meets Camille (Olga Kurylenko), who then helps him find ruthless businessman Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) who is the chairman of Greene Planet, the legitimate cover for Quantum. His intention is to use his government contacts to help overthrow the current regime in Bolivia, and place the exiled General Medrano (Joaquin Cosio) as the head of state. In exchange, The General will give him a barren piece of land, which will actually give them total control of the nation’s water supply. Hazardously mixing revenge and duty, Bond promptly gets involved with Greene’s mistress, the beautiful yet mysterious Camille, when he saves her from an attempt on her life. However, Camille has a her own mission of vengeance so they team up to take down Greene and General Medrano while keeping one step ahead of both the CIA and MI6, which involves the action ripping across Austria, Italy, and South America. Meanwhile, Bond must try to keep his desire for retribution over Vesper Lynd’s death in check.

There’s still a sense at the end that Bond’s mission has scarcely begun and he’ll need a few more Bond canon entries to work his way up to annihilating the obviously indestructible Quantum organization. What makes Quantum of Solace captivating, compelling, and appealing is that this is the first of the 22 Bond movies where the plot flows in a natural and structural manner from the last installment, and this sequel looks a far stronger picture for this rare connected whole.

By far, there’s no better actor at bottling rage than Craig. He continues to be his own man as Bond, not just because he is a darker and more bare-knuckle Bond than any of previous Bonds. Having finally settled into the role of Bond, does Craig not only make it completely his own, but also brings a slightly softer side that his elegant predecessors have been deficient in. Never before have we seen him tenderly hugging a dying male comrade before disposing of his corpse in a dumpster. Bond in this sequel is also human enough to start worrying about how regularly his girlfriends get killed. Moreover, viewers get to question his motives for pursuing a crusade. Is he being ultimately altruistic to helping drought-deteriorated Bolivian peasants? Or is he totally selfish to get his own back on the one directly accountable for Vesper’s predicament? Keep in mind that this is Bond at the beginning of his journey. Predictably, Craig will become the most popular 007 with the younger generation.

Stealthy and sensuous Kurylenko is superb as stunning Camille and her inexorable and determined quest for vendetta leads to one of the best scenes where Bond advises her on professionally assassinating the extremely unpleasant would-be dictator who slaughtered her family. She wants to bring to a bloody conclusion, with or without the hero’s help. She is in fact so fixed on murdering her enemy that she practically should not be counted as a Bond girl. Though given awfully little screen time, Arterton is equally good as effortlessly foxy Agent Fields who appeals to the better side of the wounded anti-romantic. There’s also decisively excellent work from Dench as witheringly unimpressed boss M and strong support from Wright and Giannini. All memorable Bond adversaries are amply endowed with unconventional and peculiar behaviors and Greene is no exception. As Greene, he is a suitably repulsive character and Amalric exemplifies a wonderfully humble conceitedness as the hypocritically earnest environmentalist.

In spite of its minor flaws, Quantum of Solace, a visually imaginative follow-up to the series relaunch, to much the same level of quality as Casino Royale, remains overall pleasurable and satisfying with strong performances, a realistically uncompromising script, and intense Bourne-modeled action sequences. It continues Craig’s authentic and conceivable reinvention of the character and throws him into an all scenario of concrete plausibility against an indistinct, deeply secret organization that bypasses politics and democracy to control economies, governments and necessary resources. And, as usual, no one but 007 can stop them.

Rating: 4/5

To see 007: Quantum of Solace in theatres, check your local listings, or visit the http://www.007.com/

Criticetc is a journalist and critic in Bangkok and Pattaya, and at http://www.bkklive.com  and http://www.cinemania.com

Be Sociable, Share!