Fan Reviews - Quantum of Solace

Fan Reviews of the James Bond films can be submitted to MI6 via the Contribute page, or on the Reviews board of the "Keeping The British End Up" discussion forums. The views expressed on this page are those of the individual and not

"Quantum of Solace" by GeneralGogol
Following the critically-acclaimed Casino Royale, expectations were stratospheric for Bond 22. Unfortunately, Craig's sophomore outing as 007 was nowhere near as smooth an effort and there was much to be disappointed about - from the awkward theme song to the undercooked script. Despite the shortcomings, Quantum of Solace is an energetic and important Bond adventure in its own right.

The first act of the film is overwhelmingly dominated by Dan Bradley-orchestrated action sequences. The dramatic chase and fight scenes in Italy and Haiti scream not just of Bourne, but also as attempts to replicate the effect of the construction site chase in Casino Royale. There are too many of these set pieces and they are excessively subject to the whim of a hyper editing team. Thankfully, the Tosca opera sequence inserts just the right amount of class and tension into the middle of the film. The villain Greene's water-monopoly plot that the film reveals is only an ounce of what the Quantum organization is capable of doing. This topical shift from terrorism to ecology and coup d'etats has a strong political subtext and references 1970s political thrillers like Chinatown. The mix of retro and modern was handled sensibly by director Forster. There is style and spirit in the art direction and locations - from the high-tech London to the uber-cool Bregenz to the decrepit La Paz.

Quantum of Solace gathers a first-rate cast. After Casino Royale, Judi Dench, Giancarlo Giannini, and Jeffrey Wright have expanded roles in a tighter film. Dench is at her best, with her M in the midst of a delicate balancing act between Bond and bureaucracy. There is not enough of Mathieu Amalric's sleazy Greene, who steals the scenes he's in. The Bond girl duo of Gemma Arterton's Fields and Olga Kurylenko's Camille is not among the series' most memorable. Fields is cute when she's around and Camille serves a different purpose than the usual conquest.

Finally, Daniel Craig himself is the film's driving force. Although his Casino Royale performance was more entertaining, he now looks more natural as Bond. Stealthy and energetic, while also dour and brutal, Craig's Bond allows humanity to prevail within him. Quantum of Solace succeeds in developing Bond's character in a way that Broccoli and Saltzman avoided doing after On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Bond is shown as a torn man who finds solace in his duty. Breaking necks is his output. He becomes loyal and instinctive enough to now see the big picture and go out of his way to do his job. Bond's short-lived friendship with Mathis and his bonding with Camille go a long way in clearing his eyes. The closure in the film's last scene needed to happen, even at the expense of a livelier plot. With the respect he treats M with in the end, it's clear that Bond has come full circle. In fact, he "never left".

"Quantum of Solace" by Goldrush007
Quantum of Solace was highly anticipated by cinema audiences after the revitalisation of the series with Casino Royale. However, the film's reception was decidedly mixed. Whilst I do not believe that Quantum matches Casino Royale on any level, I still consider it a strong entry in the franchise. The director, Marc Forster, has given the film a stylish visual touch, mixed with good characterisation despite the extremely fast pace of the film. The story is a fairly simple revenge narrative, following the death of Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale. As such, Quantum of Solace is almost an extended denouement to the previous film, with I think contributed to the lukewarm reception as it struggles to stand alone.

There are plenty of strong points to the film: Once again, Craig's darker, angrier portrayal of Bond is a plus in a revenge film such as this. Also, the supporting cast, such as Giancarlo Giannini, Jeffrey Wright and David Harbour are memorable in their roles. The action sequences are also very good, especially those at the beginning of the film - The pre-credits car chase, and the Siena foot chase – although the latter does seem a little derivative of the Tangiers sequence in The Bourne Ultimatum. Another nice touch is the production design of Dennis Gassner. He steps well into the shoes of Peter Lamont, providing designs which emphasise the realism as well as accentuating the exoticism of Bond. The interior of Perla De Las Dunas has a strong flavour of Ken Adam's designs from the early Bond films.

In closing, I feel that Quantum of Solace is one of the Bond series' underrated entries. The combination of good performances, visual flair and a hard hitting revenge narrative make this a worthy chapter in the Bond canon, and the kinetic action scenes ensure an entertaining viewing experience.

"Quantum of Solace" by thegiantcookie
Yeah, you're right; we should just deal with nice people.

Nothing sums up Quantum of Solace better than its pre titles sequence. A confusing shortly cut film which simultaneously manages to be exciting, boring, confusing and unexplained (and that's just the car chase).

The result of a short pre production period, an unfinished script and a director who wasn't skilled in the action thriller genre, Quantum of Solace is a curiosity. Not quite a bond film, not quite an action film, QoS is a film that is unsure of what it is supposed to be.

The first direct continuation of a story from a previous film (the critically acclaimed and box office busting Casino Royale), the narrative of the film takes a backseat (something about water restricted for profit) in favour of a film that explores Bond as a human being. Emotionally unstable, James Bond goes on the hunt after a shadowy organisation known as Quantum, and its head honcho, Mr White.

Unlike Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace is an original story. Given the way the previous film ended, there were a million ways in which the story could have progressed. Instead, the decision was made to go down one of the weakest routes possible. There's potential in the script, a coup in a foreign country and the impact on the United Kingdom, but they barely explore this, and as a result, leaves a lot to be desired.

Daniel Craig returns as James Bond. After a strong performance in Casino Royale, all he had to do was, well turn up. And he certainly did that. He gives a strong performance, not as good as the one he gave previously, but that's no fault of his own. Hamstrung with poor dialogue and a director who can't handle him properly, he ends off being a bit, well, meek.

Supporting Craig is Ukrainian actress Olga Kurylenko, French actor Mathieu Almaric, Italian Actor Giancarlo Gianinni and American Jeffery Wright. QoS certainly has an international cast, and they give it their all. Wright and Gianinni give a comparable performance to those of CR, Kurylenko wanders from scene to scene and Almaric is severely underused.

But whilst the plot takes a sabbatical, the action is multiplied in order to take its place. Car chases, boat battles, aeroplane fights and unarmed combat all feature within the film. All of them stick out like a sore thumb. None of them are properly integrated into the story, its almost as if the scriptwriters are just ticking off boxes. Half of the sequences don't make sense, they're poorly shot and edited together too fast. It leaves you with a headache, rather than taking your breath away.

And here lies the problem with Quantum of Solace. It a rushed botch job and it shows throughout the film. The director, Marc Forster, clearly isn't able to, or isn't confident enough to, martial action and drama together, and this splits the film into two. Poorly edited action and over long exposition sequences, the film is schizophrenic at best.

All isn't lost though. Quantum of Solace is easily one of the best looking Bond films. Roberto Schafer's cinematography is brilliant, from the harshly shot car chases to the luxury of Sienna and the Bolivian party scene, it all looks brilliant, and it's a shame this is lost in the editing.

David Arnold's score is vastly improved from the dredge he has previously provided. It's a lot more subtle, and fits in with the locations and the action much more coherently than it previously has, and tracks such as Oil Fields and Night at the Opera being standouts. It's a shame the theme song, by Jack White and Alicia Keys (a solid choice on her own) don't offer the same improvements.

Despite all this, I still like Quantum of Solace, despite falling short of my high expectations, I appreciate what the film was trying to do and what it was trying to be, but I can't help but feel if it had been left in the cooker just that little bit longer, it would have been much, much better. It has good intentions, but that's not enough.

"Quantum of Solace" by S. Christensen
Quantum Of Solace seems to be a divisive Bond film within the Bond fan community. Its contemporary Eruoflav style, risk-taking direction, short fly by the seat of your pants pace, and dark moments tends to turn off a few fans.

While slightly alienating for some fans, Quantum Of Solace is seen by other fans, myself included, as a brilliant and refreshing Bond film. The bold, adrenaline-pumping, style-first-formula-last groove brought by director Marc Forster makes Quantum Of Solace a very exciting film and a particularly unique chapter within the 007 film series.

Not since On Her Majesty's Secret Service have we seen cinematography this good in a Bond movie, not since Licence To Kill has the series been this edgy, and not since Dr. No has the world been unprepared for what Bond will do on the silver screen.

A dynamic performance from Daniel Craig (who is more confident and subsequently better in Quantum Of Solace than he was in Casino Royale) not only solidifies Craig's take on the character but single-handedly makes the whole film worthwhile.

Bond Girls Olga Kurylenko and Gemma Arterton give the film a double dose of feminine vitality - Arterton proves why she is currently a rising Hollywood star and Kurylenko impresses as one of the more complex Bond Girls of the franchise – and, despite what other fans might want you to think, the mighty Frenchman Mathieu Amalric gives a very striking turn as the psychotic villain Dominic Greene.

A classic Flemingesque atmosphere meets up with the 21st Century in Quantum Of Solace in a far more interesting way than the previous two Bond entries: Die Another Day was paint-by-numbers Bond and Casino Royale was a new yet familiar direction - but Quantum Of Solace rewrites the 007 handbook. This angers many fans but I embrace it. I will not go as far as saying Quantum Of Solace is the best Bond film ever but I do think that if every Bond film took as many visual risks and employed as many fresh ideas as Forster has done with Quantum Of Solace, the series would be even better.

"Quantum of Solace" by James Clark
"Take a deep breath, you only need one shot. Make it count."

It was never going to be an easy task following up the unexpectedly brilliant Casino Royale, Daniel Craig's Bond debut, with the 22nd official outing in the series. Bond's heart has been broken by the woman he loved, he has been betrayed by a criminal organisation to which he has only one lead and, perhaps the toughest of all, Craig must show that's he's not a one 'Bond' hit wonder by pushing the envelope in the series' first direct narrative sequel.

Taking the helm on Solace is German-born Marc Forster, a director with a keen eye for character and making locations characters of their own. Solace is, in many respects, unlike any other Bond film in the series. The film is set to breakneck pace (blink and you'll miss the action) with the shortest run time of the series and the most abrupt, dynamic editing techniques are deployed. Craig's Bond is seeking vengeance and going against authority - it's Licence to Kill with Craig instead of Dalton. In fact, it's much more than that. Daniel Craig is yet to totally convince Judi Dench's ever steely M that he can be trusted out in the field; that his emotions won't interfere with his job. The pressure is definitely on Craig to nail his second performance as Bond after a decidedly brilliant debut and needless to say he surpasses expectations.

Bond is essentially a bleak character by Fleming's pen and Craig personifies this better than perhaps any of his predecessors in the role. He has his brutal moments - stabbing a contact in Port au Prince and surveying him as he slowly dies, disarming MI6 guards in a lift or dispatching M's aide Mitchell in a dramatic chase. Paradoxically, we feel for this lonely character in his reflective moments - holding a dying Mathis in his arms, shielding Camille from a burning hotel. Bond is still a conflicted soul. As Camille delicately supposes, he is still imprisoned by his thoughts and feelings for Vesper.

In many respects, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace work brilliantly as an introduction to 007. We have seen the violent side of the character, we have seen the brief moments of solace and comfort and we now have the chance, with Bond 23 around the corner, to see a more playful side to Craig's Bond. As a stand alone film Solace succeeds in its own merits boasting stunning locations and some fine dialogue but more importantly, as a sequel and a character progression it is a vital addition to the series. James Bond, we 'need you back'.