Saturday, November 15, 2008

"Quantum of Solace" (2008) - Movie Review

“Quantum of Solace” opens with the traditional uninspiring and badly choreographed action sequence, but when Daniel Craig as James Bond comes out at the end of it to unveil the trunk and asks Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) to come out, it is out of the question not to chuckle and get excited. What is this astounding magnetism this persona has to pound the start the film needed. With more action pumped than “Casino Royale”, this film is pure adrenalin sadly lacking the technique the Craig debut as Bond had. Coming from a good director as Marc Forster, it at times crosses the barrier of mainstream cinema into a film of poetic class especially in the Austria gun hunt with the back ground of the Opera. Yet it becomes a fodder of action sequences with more humanized form of stunts with no gadgets.

Craig jumps, punches, takes punches, get slashed by the deadliest pocket knives and kisses the death in leaps and feels the steel in his bare hands. It is physically exhausting to see the Craig’s Bond going through so much of running and fighting and what not in this film projecting a more down to the ground fight man. The nemesis for Bond is Dominic (Mathieu Amalric) fronting an environmental organization while smoothly dealing with the General of Bolivia (Joaquín Cosio) to plan a coup d’état. He is the lead of a secret society of lustful money mongers machinating control over resources but let that stay aside for a while for you to discover in the film. Let us talk about the man.

In “Casino Royale” we see a budding talented spy tumbling on the emotions and beginning to make mistakes. He learns fast with arrogance and becomes a killing machine. And he falls for a lady and gets betrayed in the end. In the clandestine operations of secret services trust is an obsolete word and he learns that. But he wears that iron mask more than he used to before he met Vesper after her death. A sense of regret and failure with himself and in “Quantum of Solace” he is driven by revenge. Now this paragraph is dedicated to the review of “Casino Royale” than this film as the material in discussion in the turmoil of saving the world forgets the man, a lot.

Regardless of that Daniel Craig is clearly in control. He has dripped out his blood and soul to perform this character and never would you see such a dedication in a role for this spy man. The stunts we see are most of the times are his face and body in the act. He clings on to the ruggedness of physique this Bond carries along. At any given moment he is in control but we do not know which characteristics of him take that control. It is mostly his rage and rarely by the conscience of saving some one.

Bond has become a mad dog and he keeps on piling dead bodies in pursuit of the operation. He does not care to obtain information as the non-living things of his victims would tell a lot than them. And Judi Dench as M has more screen time than ever but less smarty dialogues than ever. The passionate witty conversation existed in the previous film with M and mainly with the Bond girl misses a lot. Replacing that is the mindless loads of action sequences. When I saw the starting chase scene of the predecessor, I thought it has been very long since I witnessed such an action in a commercial film making. Here though with umpteen of it, I lost interest and becomes a whole ADD in act.

I would have to agree that the Bond girl Camille by Olga Kurylenko gives an able match in physical strength but the empathy for revenge seems unconvincing. Adding to that is the role of Jeffrey Wright as CIA agent Felix Leiter adding nothing at all. The photography and the dozen world locations were a display of the mood Bond goes through but it just did not have the charm and novelty in its characters except from Craig.

“Quantum of Solace” is a gritty action film as “The Bourne Ultimatum”. I enjoyed the latter because the darkness of the character and the intelligence of its protagonist did not get to think and keeps on moving it as in the previous two films we have understood a great deal of him for an action thriller film. “Casino Royale” set the ground for the Bond we have seen all the years living in a fantasy land of dancing in pleasure with death and debauchery. It made him flesh and blood. The sequel to it of course still has him in flesh and blood but with a soul missing not in him but in the story.

I was not put off by the regular expectation of Bond films not present like Money Penny and gadgets expo 2020. I was put off by the flurry of random action sequences with no clue on the cleverness, agile or the presence of mind Bond showed earlier. I admired the hard work of Craig and in his every strenuous movement of his limbs it is understood. But it became a regularity I have often seen in action films. While it definitely is not the conventional Bond film we have seen before “Casino Royale”, it has the only motive to boost the fight factor into knuckles and bare feet. Sparsely we see Craig without any lacerations on his face. Even in the colour tone of something new and catching, I only saw the usual fair of block buster action. I hope we see more of those fencing conversations and a perfectly angled shot of an action sequence aware of what is happening than guessing.


media boy said...

Quantum of Solace is entertaining at least... a lot of high quality visuals, but the movie as a whole could stand to lose six or seven fewer chase scenes

Ashok said...

While it was not horrible, it should have edited many many action scenes and replace it with the dark wit of Bond. I was especially annoyed by the shaky camera and for most of the time I had no clue what was happening.

saimad said...

human bond? very much so. for me, the movie could have been cut in half and the next bond movie could have been squeezed in the second half! (no, thats not a compliment!)

Ashok said...

Yeah, I felt too many random action scenes with not offering any time for Craig to talk at all. Let us see what they do for the third installment.