By Carter B. Horsley
Quantum of Solace
is the 22nd official James Bond film and the second to star Daniel
Craig in the title role. He first appeared two years ago in "Casino
Royale" and his Bond is quite violent and not very lovable
and not very humorous.
In addition, Quantum of Solace has the
worst theme "song" in the history of the seriesand is
not particular scenic and much of its scenery is not luxurious.
The song, "Another Way to Die," is sung by Jack White
and Alicia Keys.
The good news, however, is that Olga Kurylenko
as Camille, the "Bond" girl in this movie, is very alluring
and sexy and interesting even though she does not have much dialogue,
that Mathieu Alaric as the villain "Dominic Greene"
is appropriately leacherous, swarmy and malicious, and that Giancarlo
Giannini as "Rene Mathis" is good, mature and amusing.
In his review, Roger Ebert correctly noted
that "James Bond is not an action hero!....He is an attitude....He
exists for the foreplay and the cigarette."
The great Bond movies had spectacular gimmicks
and technology and gorgeous scenery both, natural and human. This
one appears to be embarrassed by such things. Even Q and Moneypenny
What has taken their place is the insipid and
terrible direction that characterizes the Jason Bourne movies
and make them implausible inane and incomprehensible. The director,
Marc Forster, obviously belongs to the Internet generation that
is only able to read a paragraph at a time and thinks that is
sufficient wisdom to be brilliant. Such quick, clumsy and incompetent
editing is all too common nowadays and is usually used to cover
up poor computer graphics.
"Neither shaken nor stirred," read
part of the headline in the November 11, 2008 review of this film
in the Village Voice by Robert Wilonsky. "It's as though Forster ('Monster's Ball,' 'Finding
Neverland') and his two editors (longtime collaborator Matt Cheese
and, get this, 'Get Smart' and 'Bourne Supremacy' vet Richard
Pearson) filmed Quantum on a roller coaster and cut the
movie with a food processor set on 'indecipherable,'" according
to the quite accurate Mr. Wilonsky.
"It's both frantic and boring," Mr.
Wilonsky continued, "a surprising and wholly unnecessary
attempt to gin up the revived franchise by turning Bond into Bourne.
If Bond is to bound again (which, given the box-office tracking
for Quantum, is all but assured), it will have to be with
a different director; Forster has done the seemingly impossible
to this director-proof series, treating Bond with such disdain
as to render him pointless in his own movie....Between swerves
and smashes, we simply have no idea who's doing what to whom,
where they're doing it, or why. What's meant to be kinetic and
cathartic serves only to disorient, to keep the audience at a
head-scratching distance....Bond does little more than sulk through
the pictureForster doesn't allow him so much as a grin...."
Daniel Craig is one mean spy and while he has
a good physique he does not have the fabulous good looks of his
ancestors in the role. While it is unfortunately undeniable that
we now live in a world that glamorizes ugliness and deplores true
beauty, an important part of the allure of Bond is that not only
does every woman lust after him
because of his looks but also that every man holds him up as the
"gold" standard of good-looks, suavity and deering-do.
A change of pace, of course, is not necessarily
bad, but clearly this movie is extremely influenced by the three
recent films about Jason Bourne all starring Mathew Damon as a
"rogue" spy and the complete antithesis of Bond. Damon
is not believeable in his Bourne roles and is absolutely wrong
as a role-model for Bond.
Craig is not a bad actor but he is inappropriate
for the Bond character, at least for those who saw the first 20
films in the series, all of which danced on the tightrope of reality
and comedy. This film, on the other hand, has some high kicks
but no rhythm, no grace, no style unless you consider smashing
elbows into faces à la Ultimate Fighters an art form.