James Bond has long been a cultural icon for masculinity at its best. Operating outside of the bounds of society, he is free from its restrictions, a man who protects the women, saves his country or often the world and does so with unparalleled style. Daniel Craig as James Bond, more than any other actor who has tackled the iconic role, brings a seriousness and enigmatic depth to Bond that makes the character even more fascinating.
Craig is at once incredibly cold, seemingly heartless, yet he has flashes of regret, avenges his friends and shows brief moments of compassion. But he is always sexy as hell. For those who worship in the house of Connery as the best Bond ever, put Daniel Craig on your radar.
In Quantum of Solace, gone are the homonym quips, the anatomically named women, futuristic spyware and the grandiose villains with plots to take over the world. This James Bond suffers from betrayal, struggles between duty and vengeance and ultimately evolves before our eyes, something I cannot remember ever happening in a 007 flick (especially not with the one-dimensional cardboard Pierce Brosnan portrayal). But not to worry, the classic and defining elements remain the same: beautiful women, political intrigue and some truly badass chase scenes.
Quantum of Solace is a continuation of 2006's Casino Royale. Bond is still reacting to the betrayal of Vesper, and he and M (Dame Judi Dench in her sixth 007 film) come to discover that the organization that was blackmailing Vesper is more powerful and more elusive than they could have imagined. During an interrogation of one of the organization's operatives, there is an attempt on M's life. This, combined with his feelings for Vesper, makes Bond's pursuit of the organization personal, and blurs the line between revenge and duty.
Enter Camille (Ukranian born Olga Kurylenko, Hitman), a mysterious woman with her own subjectivity and an agenda that has nothing to do with James. As Bond girls go, Camille is capable and in no need of rescuing. When James does, in fact, attempt to rescue her he is chastised for it.
Subsequently, a sinister plot is discovered to overthrow the Bolivian government in an attempt to control the country's resources. There is intrigue, betrayal, a set-up and all other things you would expect of a James Bond movie.
Directed by Academy Award nominated Mark Forster (Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland) and written by Oscar winner Paul Haggis (Million Dollar Baby, Crash), Quantum of Solace is a sequel worthy of 2006's Casino Royale. One piece of advice though, revisit Casino Royale before seeing Quantum of Solace.
The plot is complicated and at times hard to follow, but exciting nonetheless. While violence is a staple of the film, it never overshadows the plot; and justice is always delivered in a fitting and poetic manner. Multiple international locations make for fantastic scenery, as does the too brief shot of Daniel Craig shirtless.Quantum of Solace ★★★✩✩
Starring: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko and Mathieu Amalric. Directed by: Mark Forster. Written by: Paul Haggis. Rated PG-13