Daniel Craig continues to captivate me with his portrayal of British super spy James Bond. A lot was riding on his take and performance of the character and as far as I’m concerned, he has completely hit the nail on the head. He completely embodies the original vibe of the character in the Ian Fleming novels. The only way he could possibly become more like the character from the novels is to dye his hair dark brown. It took almost 50 years and 6 actors, but they have managed to finally get the “book-to-movie” adaptation correct. Now, don’t get me wrong. That’s not to say that I haven’t liked any of the actors or movies in the franchise. I’ve loved them all – even George Lazenby and the very underrated Timothy Dalton. In my opinion, Timothy Dalton was actually the closest the character on film came to the books besides Craig. I’ve watched Bond with my parents and kids since I was 5 years old and have seen each film several times by now. I love both the books and the movies equally, so I’m not coming at this review for Quantum of Solace from a biased slant.
I thought the film was great. It was nonstop action from start to finish. I’ve heard different opinions on the flow of the film. Some have said that the story was a little too detailed and not fleshed out enough and the action was shot so fast you couldn’t keep up. Other’s have said that it was paced perfectly and the shorter running time worked for the story. I though that some of the fight scenes had some very abrupt cuts, but it still didn’t bother me overall. As usual, Craig made the “leap before you look” Bond very believable and you actually hurt every time he would get kicked in the shins or land on his side up against metal edge. I also heard someone say that Bond barely had any lines or dialogue in the movie. Well, that also goes along the lines of the books. Bond only spoke when he needed to. He was more of a proactive character than a talker. It’s as if he walks through the film just doing his job and demands your respect and admiration for it.
The villain in the film, the environmentalist “poser” Dominic Greene, was very well played by actor Mathieu Amalric. You hated this guy from the first time you saw him onscreen. He was such a weasely bug-eyed and despicable character. You waited in suspense for the moment when Bond would give him his due. When it does happen, it gives you such glee you could almost be ashamed of yourself.
As with every Bond movie, you have the Bond “girls”, as they have come to be known. The thing that has changed over the years is the strength of those female characters. This movie had a good balance. There was Strawberry Fields (Gemma Arterton), whose caving in to Bond’s seductions ends up costing her dearly. Then you have Camille (Olga Kurylenko), who is bent on exacting her vengeance for the wrongdoing that she has suffered at any price.
Then you have your returning cast, which include Jeffrey Wright as the incorruptible CIA agent Felix Leiter. You can see his disdain for corrupt leaders and police in his every move and facial expression. He wants to serve his country, yet at the same time knows that sometimes there are situations that are more important and everything isn’t black and white. Then you have Mathis, played by Giancarlo Giannini, who just wants to get away from his nagging wife and get back in the “game”. Giannini and Bond have some great chemistry going on in scenes together on an airplane.
Quantum of Solace ends the way the movies traditionally have begun for the past 47 or so years (except Casino Royale), with the target and Bond shooting at the screen with the red coming down. It’s almost as if Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson wanted to let everyone know that Bond has closed this chapter of personal vengeance and is back and better than ever in the Majesty’s Secret Service. The last lines of the movie were M saying to Bond, “I need you back.” Bond responds to her with “I never left” and then walks off.