Daniel Craig returns as 007. Following on from Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace opens just minutes after the former ends, with Bond having captured Mr White and now evading would-be assassins. After some digging (read: killing of anyone who comes within spitting distance), Bond comes across Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amlaric), with a little help from Camille (Olga Kurylenko).
Quantum of Solace is not a particularly easy film to like. In fact, it is the film that sucked any joy out of reviewing films for me last year. Several half-started sentences sat in my draft posts for weeks before I eventually gave up. The film is almost completely devoid of humour. In fact, only two funny moments jump to mind from the entire film. (Check to see if mine are the same as yours: when Bond flips the guys off the motorbike and when Bond moves he and Fields (Gemma Arterton) to the fancier hotel, keeps their cover story of being teachers on sabbatical, and then adds “and we’ve just won the lottery”.)
In addition, the plot takes a very long time to reveal itself. For a long time, it’s just Bond flying around the world, killing whoever he comes across. The action is solid throughout, but in many places it felt like the film was attempting to recapture the magic of Casino Royale, instead of trying to be something different, something on its own.
Camille is a very strong female character, something that Bond films have tried on many occasions before (Pussy Galore, for example), but, somehow, Camille just never quite gels as a character. The reason is simple – she does not need to be saved, and certainly not by Bond. When Bond films introduce a female lead that does not lead saving, the result is inevitably poor (Jinx form Die Another Day, for example). This should not be taken to suggest that all female characters in Bond films need to be saved (Judy Dench quashes that argument in a single frame), but the female that works alongside Bond does. They can be feisty or strong willed or anything else, but at the end of the day, they need to have Bond save them.
Quantum Of Solace tries hard to be a worth successor to Casino Royale, and to be a film worthy of all that seriousness. However, in the end, we’re left feeling much like Bond: none of it matters very much in the end. C+.