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QUANTUM OF SOLACE (2008) ***** movie review by SEBASTIAN

Posted on November 15th, 2008
Posted on November 15th, 2008


Let me be clear from the outset. I am a James Bond fan. I’ve seen every movie (more than once). So its not easily that I’ve been persuaded to applaud an about-face for this franchise, but alas the brilliance of “Casino Royale” and the just released “Quantum of Solace” especially have sealed the deal for me.

I release now that what I always wanted from a James Bond movie was a greater sense of reality. I never really cared for the gadgets and sometimes silly one-liners. As Craig deftly portrays, Bond is a ruthless operative, doing whatever the job calls for and trying to find some measure of calm in the storm that has become his life.

The plot is essentially a second act in what I assume will be a type of trilogy, with Bond struggling with the contrast of duty and his need for vengeance. Think of this film as the espionage equivalent version of “Empire Strikes Back”. So don’t expect any real conclusion to this on-going story yet. I have read critics who say this works best as a stand-alone action piece, but I have to say that to really get where they are going with this movie its critical to know the story of “Casino Royale”.

I myself was very skeptical of director Marc Forster, but he really proves that he can handle this material. While not as earth-shattering as “The Kite Runner”, this film kept me involved with the characters and rooting for them. I was especially impressed with Olga Kurylenko, whose character Camille really gives James a handful, both physically and emotionally. I see her as a female standout in the franchise. A memorable character.

Bond himself is, as I had imagined, a force of Nature, brooding and unabashedly violent, tearing up almost every scene he finds himself in. This guy truly has very little reason to smile or be glib in these situations. Some critics have said that the plot only serves these action pieces. I can see how the story does cater to the action, but the plot is in full force at the same time. It might overload some viewers because its a lot of info to take in. Its frantically paced and shot, and at the same time remains challenging in terms of story. The trick is that you don’t get the pay-off in story at the end of this film. Much like Casino Royale. I really think the next film will tie them all together

Mathieu Amalric makes a convincing modern villain and plays his role well, adding just a little humor at times. But if you’re looking for levity, go to another film. In fact turn to another franchise for that. This is the new Bond we’re seeing. If you want sly quips and stupid posturing you out of luck.

I must add a note about the superior production of this movie. The photography was very impressive. Extremely tight and claustrophobic action scenes pump the adrenaline. The locales are first rate. The score is impressive as usual. And the effects always seem to add to the sense of reality in the picture.

Hopefully we’ve seen the last of the sexist Bond and all the lame female characters that had to accompany him on his adventures. This is the Bond I’ve been waiting for. Hello 21st Century. Meet James Bond. And don’t make him angry.

Five of five stars

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