Caught QoS on opening night, and immediately liked it. It’s been a long time since I really enjoyed a new Bond movie – Casino Royale was an abomination, fixated as it was on M’s mother-like concern for Bond.
I went to see Quantum of Solace with very low expectations – Daniel Craig as Bond did not work for me at all in the last movie. However, the movie took off with the opening car chase as Bond-like as ever. The jerky camera-work, which is a bit disconcerting in the beginning, quickly grows on you, and seems to convey the mood of the action scenes. Though it really does not need to be said, the action scenes are extremely fast paced, well-orchestrated and typical James Bond.
Roberto Schaefer’s camera work stands out, and makes a palpable difference to the experience. The imagery is very different from any of the previous Bond movies, and is arty without being pretentious. Many times, just the composition of the shot leaves you breathless. The use of colour also complements the cinematography, muted tones interspesed with splashes of colour predominating the screen.
David Arnold’s music blends well with the movie, and is grand without being noisy. His innovative use of music, especially during the action scenes at the opera, is refreshing. This is one soundtrack I will buy.
Daniel Craig’s performance is pretty standard – he is stunning as expected, and he carries off the Bond nonchalance better than he did in Casino Royale. A little less crying this time makes it a lot better for afficionados of the Bond canon.
This is one of Dame Judi Dench’s most unconvincing performances ever, and I would blame the scriptwriters for it – the character simply doesn’t hold. Her flip-flop between trusting Bond and trying to get him killed seems more suited to a petulant lover from the ancient classics than to an MI6 boss.
What is a Bond movie without a Bond girl – and this one has two of them – Olga Kurylenko as Camille and Gemma Arterton as Strawberry Fields. Both have turned in decent performances, though it seems a lot of Gemma footage was left on the editing room floor – will have to watch a director’s cut to get to the bottom of that.
Which brings us to the next impressive bit – the editing. Brilliant camera work, good action scenes and good acting performances need good, tight editing to deliver a punch as a movie. Director Marc Forster seems to have found the perfect complement to the rest of his crew in editors Matt Cheese and Richard Pearson (what would we do without IMDB!). Quantum of Solace is perfectly edited.
The one bit in the film that did not work was, surprisingly an action sequence, and that too a high-speed chase in aeroplanes. I still cannot figured out how Bond managed to make the WWII fighter plane (Was it an Me101?) that was flying circles around his cargo plane crash. But then, that was a very small part of the movie, and we moved on just as Bond did!
All in all, the movie was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, and lived up to the expectations the James Bond name builds up.
Four stars out of five!