Review: Quantum of Solace

It’s testimony to the success of Casino Royale that Bond films are now expected to be good. Daniel Craig made for a compelling Bond with the exciting potential for humanity, the shallow triviality of previous incarnations and plots was discarded in deference to the success of 24 and the Bourne films, with thrillingly fascinating results. Sadly Quantum of Solace loses most of this momentum and is little more than an average action film.

All the characters are underdone. Minor characters are totally one-dimensional and unengaging, the most interesting things about them being their appearance: a henchman’s odd fringe, a CIA agent’s 70’s moustache, and a Bond girl’s being covered in crude oil. Sadly the leads are no better: the main bad guy sounds like Doctor Evil but has none of his imagination. The interaction between Bond and female lead Camille could have been fascinating: they’re both damaged goods grappling with the hope and fear of vengeance but they’re not given anything to do except run through exploding landscapes, pause for breath, deliver a couple of clichéd lines and then get shot at some more. Similarly Bond’s relationship with M is unfulfilling: what a waste of both Craig and Judi Dench. After Casino Royale’s skilful mix of character development and action, this is all hugely disappointing.

The story is difficult to follow and there is no real climax. This is the trouble with global warming as a plot device: it may be a ticking time-bomb but the countdown takes decades and the explosion is incremental. But this is the driving force of the film, such as it is, because Bond’s revenge mission is so disjointed. Ultimately this is a failure of direction, the decision to take a risk with ‘arty’ Marc Foster hasn’t worked.

Even the complaints about continuity errors are drab.

In summary, Quantum of Solace is a bit like its theme tune (below): there are good people involved and some interesting moments but it just doesn’t quite happen.