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Quantum of Solace (12a)

Do you like it cool, blue-eyed and deadly? Millions did over the weekend, but is the new Bond flick any good? Nicola Mostyn finds out

Published on November 2nd 2008.


Quantum of Solace (12a)

SO. What is going on with that title? On first (and second and, indeed, twenty second) hearing, the words Quantum and Solace just don’t sound right together. It’s like "Exit of Marmalade" or "Brains of Louis Walsh". It just doesn’t make sense.

Actually, the title was nabbed from an Ian Fleming short story, and was reputedly suggested by Daniel Craig himself, who wanted to avoid any more predictable Die Till You’re Dead-type titles, preferring instead one which sounds like it may have been conceived while stoned or randomly generated by a computer programme.

Still, it grabs the attention and highlights a new phase for the Bond films, one instigated by the introduction of blonde, blue eyed Bond Daniel Craig in 2006’s Casino Royale. Directed by Mark Forster (the Kite Runner), Quantum of Solace sees the return of Daniel Craig as 007 and, by now, his dissenters have been silenced. Craig has brought something new to the role of Bond and, in doing so, has driven a change in the films themselves. This is evident from the extremely long and stylish openings credits which play out like a super-cool prog-rock homage delivered by Jack White and Alicia Keyes, the latter which, like Craig as Bond, shouldn’t work but really, really does.

The narrative of the film continues on from Casino Royale and there’s a real sense of this from the opening scene in which we are landed bang in the middle of a crunching, casualty-ridden car chase. The Bond films may have become cool, but Quantum of Solace has lost none of the trademark aspects of the genre which fans adore so much - there are rooftop chases, murderous grapplings, explosions, shootings and magnificent falls aplenty.

There’s still humour, too, but rather than coming from the old-style Bond whose eyebrow was cocked as often as his gun (and something else in his pants), the laughs are now down to M (Judi Dench) who does a magnificent line in wry, black humour.

The glamour and the intrigue are all present and correct too, with some lovely lines conjuring up how we want to believe the world of espionage works (like M demanding “get me the Americans”) and a tantalising central plot of an organisation - the Quantum of the title - so secretive and dastardly that even MI6 don’t know they exist.

And then there’s Bond himself. Having won fans with his steely take in Casino Royale, Craig is, if anything, even colder this time around. Mourning thebetrayal by and the death of the woman he loved, this Bond kills like the trained assassin he is. Ruthlessly with just a touch of nonchalance. As his beautiful ally and partner in vengeance, Camille (Olga Kurylenko), says at one point: “There’s something horribly efficient about you.” And it’s true. Like Javier Bardem’s character in No Country For Old Men, this Bond shows that there’s something innately chilling about a killer who seems detached from the job in hand.

So, all the ingredients are there to make this an incredibly impressive film. And indeed, almost every aspect of this film was note perfect, with the exception of the plummy redhead given the unlikely task of demanding Bond’s return to the UK, a character seemingly crowbarred in just to provide Bond with a shag.

That aside, the film is beautifully choreographed, pacey, stylish, cool and thematically clever. But…there was something lacking. It was partly to do with the secret-organisation plot which delivered less intrigue than it promised. Or more likely it was that at no point did I fear for Bond safety. The main threat to Bond seemed to be that he might lose touch with his own humanity, and while this is a laudable theme, that isn’t quite as memorable as watching 007 on a conveyer belt being slowly wheeled towards a gigantic saw or similar.

This is a really enjoyable, well produced film that whizzes by in a whirl of colour and energy and fantastic action, but I could have done with just a little more emotional engagement. You know, just a quantum.

8/10

Quantum of Solace is on general release now

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muck sweaterNovember 2nd 2008.

Craig is boring. the plot is boring. the stunts are boring. the title is boring. the girls are boring. the locations are boring. the cars are boring. the sex is not even there any more. its boring really

andy pNovember 2nd 2008.

Please dont waste your hard earned on this film. Craig has killed the whole essence of Bond which was sexy girls, handsome guys and slick, undemanding movie fare. A far better film is James Mason in The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. What is so wrong here? Where to start - Judy Dench has become haggish and sleepwalks through her role and Craig can convey neither emotion or raw aggression in the way Connery could. The plot is threadbare and dull and the yawnmaking stunts are bolted into the film to draw the 12 year old gawpers into the cinema.Dire. Stupid. The worst Bond and worst Bond film ever made.

AnitaNovember 2nd 2008.

Can't wait to see it ..... the film, not the fat belly.

professor chucklebuttyNovember 2nd 2008.

You ignorant fools. do you not know your Latin? It means My belly is so fat that I can't bend to tie my shoelace.

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