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Quantum of Solace

Reviewed by Heather West

"While it is definitely worth seeing, if only for the action-sequences, Quantum of Solace leaves too many questions unanswered."

Three years ago, New Zealand director Martin Campbell signed up for a mission that no director, including himself, had ever attempted: Mission Make James Bond Human. After receiving critical and popular acclaim for his 2006 film Casino Royale, Campbell relinquished the director’s chair to Marc Forster (The Kite Runner, Finding Neverland) and the Who’s-Bond-Is-Better wars began.

After seeing the film, however, people will probably draw fewer comparisons between the Campbell James Bond and the Forster James Bond, and more comparisons between Bond and his American counterpart, Jason Bourne. Quantum of Solace will be Forster’s first venture into the action genre, and he certainly draws inspiration, perhaps too much inspiration, from spy-thrillers of recent memory. While Bond (Daniel Craig) continues to be distinct for his multi-layered and passionate portrayal of an oft-played character, he is thrown into a series of situations and exotic locations that tend to swallow the people in the plot.

Quantum of Solace picks up where Casino Royale left off, with Bond on a personal vendetta against the villains who murdered his former flame Vesper Lynd. Vesper allegedly betrayed Bond to pay the ransom for her boyfriend, a fact that lingers over his head throughout the film. Bond has just captured Mr. White, leader of the criminal organization Quantum, but White’s escape triggers a chain of events (and appropriately spectacular action scenes) that propels Bond from Siena, Italy to Port au Prince, Haiti. There, Bond rescues Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko) from the clutches of her boyfriend, Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), and Bolivian General Medrano. But Greene and Medrano have darker plans, which involve an impending government coup and a mysterious tract of land in the desert. And Bond’s reckless exploits have placed him on the wanted list of his own country. Can Bond evade both the British and American agents on his tail while uncovering an elusive plot by Green and Medrano with the help of retired spy Rene Mathis, British Consulate operative Strawberry Fields, and Camille Montes, who wants Medrano dead for her own reasons, and simultaneously track down Vesper’s killers and prove her innocence, assuring himself that she really did love him after all?

That sentence was about as extravagant as the film itself, which often sacrifices character for plot, logic for excitement, and sense for the spectacular. While it is definitely worth seeing, if only for the action-sequences, Quantum of Solace leaves too many questions unanswered. Like a fill-in-the-dots game, the film expects us to make imaginative leaps from one plot point to the next, but the final picture is still hard to make out. On the other hand, with Bond’s future barely solidified, Forster gives us more reason to anticipate his return.

The film is rated PG-13 for violence, action, and some sexual content. Violence scenes include a gunfight, and a scene where Bond blows up an embassy. The hand-to-hand fighting that was characteristic of Casino Royale is less pronounced here; nevertheless, many characters meet very violent deaths.

At its release, Quantum of Solace was cited for its notable lack of a sex scene (brief innuendo and the aftermath of a sex scene is shown, but both characters are covered by blankets). A servant of General Medrano narrowly escapes being raped in one of the closing scenes; cleavage is shown. Overall, however, the film is straight action, and viewers who were hoping for some romance between Bond and Camille will not have those hopes fulfilled. He is still grieving for Vesper, and that emotion directs much of the film.

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Heather West is a sophomore English and Communications major, who firmly believes in the concept of the Renaissance man (or woman, in her case). In that vein, her interests include everything from piano, Broadway, and gospel choir to snowboarding, missionary work, and filmmaking. Her writing is inspired by her reading; her favorite authors are Brian Jacques, Bill Myers, Timothy Zahn, G.K. Chesterton, J.R.R. Tolkien, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Kenneth Grahame, Chaim Potok, Isaac Asimov, and Lloyd Alexander. While she aspires to be a novelist and screenwriter, Heather equally enjoys journalism, particularly in the areas of film and music. Her dream job is creating clean, thought-provoking media that will point people back to God. She has written for Infuze Magazine, more recently for SoulAudio.com, and is thrilled to start writing for TitleTrakk!