November 16, 2008
Saw Quantum of Solace on Friday, and contrary to many reviews, its a pretty good film. That being said, it is not a typical James Bond movie. Its more like a Bourne Identity/Mission Impossible type of film. Its a very gritty action film, that takes up 30 minutes after Casino Royal ends. So if you haven't seen Casino, you're gonna be a little bit lost in Quantum. And its easy to get lost in Quantum
Quantum deals with Bond's (Daniel Craig) quest to get revenge on the man who set up his lover Vespa in Casino. He discovers that Vespa's boyfriend, was not kidnapped and being held hostage as she was told to compell her to betray the British. Rather he was part of the organization that was blackmailing her.
In Casino, Bond was trying to get a terror financier named Le Chiffre to flip on his clients. Bond was going to do this by bankrupting Le Chiffre in a high stakes poker tournament, forcing Le Chiffre to come to MI6 and the CIA for protection. Bond succeeds in winning, but Le Chiffre turns the table, kidnapping Vespa, and luring bond into a trap. While torturing Bond to get his money back, Le Chiffre is killed by Mr. White. The facilitator who put Le Chiffre in contact with his clients. At the end of Casino, Bond tracks down Mr. White and captures him.
Quantum starts with a chase through Italy (during the filming the Aston Martin went in the lake) as Mr. White's operatives try to get him back. Bond takes him to a safe house, where he's to undergo questioning by M. However, one of the MI6 agents is a mole working for Mr. White's organization. He helps Mr. White escape, and nearly kills M. The rest of the film, Bond tries to track down this shadowy organization, that seems to be called Quantum, as it engages in government toppling for profit. The organization has penetrated the highest levels of the British government, is duping the CIA, and fleeces rich envrio-wackos. Very S.P.E.C.T.E.R.ish.
The cinematagrophy is very good, though a bit gritty and jumpy during some of the fight scenes. As if the director wanted to give you a Bond perspective of the action, while also giving the audience the overall picture. The sets are typical Bond, high tech metal, glass, and wood, all the easier to blow up dramatically. Betrayal, revenge, and trust are the big issues of the film, with revenge coming off as the clearest.
Being in Italy may have affected the director, as he tries in two different parts to use visual symbolism to re-inforce ideas, the first was cutting to a rough riding horse race during Bond's foot chase of the MI6 double agent. The second was when Bond is fighting Quantum agents backstage of a play, were there is fighting happening on stage. It was a little too heavy handed. It was a bit to artsy and really served to distract from the action.
In the end Bond tracks down the man who betrayed Vespa, in a scene harking back to Casino.
I think this may be the first time a Bond film continues right after the previous film, continuing and building on the previous plot, rather than being a stand alone film, that most Bond films have been.
I hope they continue in this vein.
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