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Quantum of Solace

Quantum of Solace is the latest Bond film to be released. It hit cinemas in late 2008 and starred Daniel Craig as the psychotic secret agent James Bond struggling to come to terms with the loss of his lover in his last outing, Casino Royale. It is gritty and violent as Bond chases down villain Dominic Greene across various locations from Italy to Bolivia. Daniel Craig is a new kind of Bond and part of the success of the license is down to this ability to regenerate and bring a new angle to the character. There is a new sense of reality in the last two films, perhaps less so in Quantum of Solace than in Casino Royale but Bond is now completely without interventions by Q with his corny gadgets. The character names are almost believable, although the MI6 agent who tries to control Bond in Bolivia and inevitably gets seduced is called Strawberry Fields. Apart from the odd touch the mood is far more downbeat than the Bond of old, the humour is almost entirely gone and the violence is much more realistic with Bond seeming far less indestructible than he used to, although having said that the bad guys still cannot aim to save themselves. The villain is a sneering and unpleasant character but he operates in the real world and sadly his plan and his defeat at the hands of Bond are not particularly memorable. Bond only takes the case because he is trying to get revenge on the people who killed Vesper at the end of Casino Royale. He meets various characters along the way and in his usual manner enlists their help and catapults them into mortal danger. His friendship with Felix of the CIA seems to develop further and there is plenty of action, in fact many fans and critics complained that the film lacked character development and there was too much action. The plot is a weaving affair and the title was lifted from a short story by Fleming although the content wasn’t. This film was the 22nd official Bond movie from EON Productions (they don’t count Never Say Never Again or the original spoof version of Casino Royale). Apart from a silly title Quantum of Solace is a decent Bond flick and Daniel Craig continues to do a good job in the role. He is quiet and brooding and they don’t give him much dialogue but he is also believable in the part and has the physicality you would expect of such a character. The supporting cast did a fine job with Olga Kurylenko playing ally Camille Montes, Gemma Arterton as Strawberry Fields and Mathieu Amalric as Dominic Greene. Judi Dench also reprised her role as M and seemed to have a much bigger part than usual. There was no real stand out performance and perhaps that is the biggest problem with the film, none of the characters are very memorable or engaging. Craig is still early in his Bond career and you can’t help feeling there is an excellent movie on the way but it seems that the cartoon super villains, complex gadgets and tongue in cheek humour may have gone for good. There is nothing wrong with a grittier and more downbeat Bond but they have to be careful not to go too far in that direction or he loses his charm altogether. The next film is due to be released some time in 2011.