Quantum of Solace Directed by Marc Forster. Written by Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade. Starring Daniel Craig, Judy Dench. PG-13. 106 minutes.
Was this a Bond movie? I think the writers forgot what makes a Bond movie a Bond movie. There were no gadgets, no “shaken, not stirred,” no “Bond, James Bond.” This was just a normal spy/revenge movie with M and a moody Felix Leiter. It’s like this movie is more character set-up. You don’t use the second movie for more set-up, you get into some action. Well, I guess there was action, but you couldn’t tell what was going on during most of it. Perhaps a worthy opponent would have been good. Or a plot that indicated a large magnitude of danger. I don’t know. I do know that I only go to the theater once or twice a year and I expect better.
Daniel Craig is great and tough and the kind of guy they need for 007, with an exception. James Bond has no class in this movie. No suave demeanor, just gruffness. Once again, any spy can be tough and gruff. I can watch Jack Baur without paying $16.00. Judy Dench as M is really ideal. I wasn’t sure I would ever warm to her when she was introduced, but she fits the roll wonderfully. Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter has potential, but all he allowed to do in Quantum of Solace is pout. He was much better in Casino Royale. The car chase that opens the movie is pretty cool and Bond is driving an Aston-Martin. The final big explosion scene is almost over-the-top stuff and was one of only three times I felt like I was watching a Bond movie (the other two being the car chase and a dead girl in bed). That is about as positive as I can get.
What really ticks me off is that the directing and/or editing is so awful. I can forgive a lot in a Bond movie but I think I’m going to quit watching all action movies until they decide that cutting a fight scene in a confusing manner is really a simpleton’s way of avoiding decent camera work. Even during the non-fight scenes, the amount of cuts and the speed of the cuts are ridiculous. At one point in Quantum of Solace I was counting how long between each cut. One-to-three seconds unless one of the main two men were on the screen. Then it was up to seven seconds. That is bad news for a filmmaker. Anytime the audience is so distracted they are taken out of the movie, the director has screwed up. Oh, and Quantum of Solace is a horrible name for a movie. Go watch Dr. No and wait on the DVD.