It was never going to be easy for Quantum of Solace. Not only was it following the footsteps of the critically well-received Casino Royale, it was a direct sequel to that movie, meaning that it had to resolve whatever arc that was introduced 3 years before. Had it succeeded in doing so? Well...
Single Sentence Synopsis:
Bond must track down Quantum’s leadership to make them pay for Vesper’s death and for the attempt at M’s life while helping a kindred soul deal with her own inner turmoil.
Dominic Greene - Dominic Greene is an ecoterrorist who gains influence in foreign nations by secretly robbing them of natural resources through geoengineering. His latest “victim” is a Bolivian general who sells the country out in return for Quantum’s help in his coups d’état.
The Real Villain:
Quantum - Quantum is a powerful cabal of influential groups and persons from around the globe. Its members include industry magnates, politicians, and double agents.
Camille Montes - Camille Montes is a Bolivian agent who seeks to avenge her family who was raped and murdered by a corrupt general. She learns that the general is working with Dominic Greene, so she becomes Greene’s lover to get closer to her target.
Strawberry Fields (sadly not forever...) - Strawberry Fields is an MI6 messenger who gets embroiled in Montes and Bond’s attempt to get close to Dominic Greene. Unfortunately, she is assassinated in a similar fashion as the iconic golden woman from Goldfinger, except she is drowned in petroleum instead.
M’s Relationship with Bond:
Bond and M have an understanding of sorts. She understands that while he is reckless, he does have the best intentions at heart. It doesn’t stop her from reminding him the consequences of his destructive behavior, however.
5. Q is still missing in Quantum of Solace, so Bond doesn’t get to carry any fancy gadgets, but MI6 apparently has face recognition system so advanced that it can correctly identify people in blurry, poorly-lit photos, and the MI6 briefing room is equipped with massive computer projection screens.
- The opening chase that destroyed 5 Aston Martins and put a stunt driver in coma. Probably the best Bond chase ever filmed. (The stunt driver got better, according to Daniel Craig)
- The entire Tosca sequence at the floating opera stage in Bregenz. Absolutely stunning.
- That brutal beatdown in Haiti between Bond and the double agent.
Apparently Amy Winehouse was attached to the project but could not work on the theme. Instead, we got Jack White and Alicia Keys’ shouty, incongruous mess.
I personally have a soft spot for Quantum of Solace. It’s got beautiful set pieces and elaborate stunts. However, it lacked the wit and the humor that made Casino Royale sparkle so much. It can be dour and mean-spirited at times, especially considering what happened to Mathis and Fields. I did like that Camille didn’t pursue any romance with Bond, although I didn’t care for the fact that she was burdened with so many femme fatale tropes: seducing enemies, driven by the need to avenge family, threatened with sexual violence, etc... I did, however, appreciate the parallel the writers tried to draw between Camille and Bond as two people trying to find peace of mind after losing so much, even though it wasn’t all that explicit. Bond also finds some inner peace at the end by saving someone, which was a nice note to end on.
So what do you guys think of the movie? It’s no one’s favorite, but I reckon it works much much better when watched back-to-back with Casino Royale.