Reviews of movies, music, books and more by David Goody.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Film: Quantum Of Solace

It's quite a feat for the alarm bells to start ringing about a film before you've got past the BBFC certificate, but staring at a title as lousy as Quantum Of Solace in plain text on a big screen makes you think that it that's the best they could do with Bond then maybe they should hand the reins over to someone else. The ringing gets louder when you realise that this is the first Bond film that acts as a direct sequel to the previous film. Clearly since the Daniel Craig bond has borrowed so much from Jason Bourne it may as well borrow the idea of a continuing narrative. However this requires a memorable plot and the memorable bits of Casino Royale (poker scene, collapsing venetian towers, running along cranes, muscles and swimming trunks) had as much to do with the plot as the popcorn you bought in the foyer.

Hence we have a pissed off Bond busting heads and being told to get some perspective for little discernible reason. Now most of the Bond franchise has got by without a particularly coherent narrative thanks to charm and good set pieces. Quantum Of Solace however wants to be a serious picture so charm has been jettisoned and the set pieces are a bunch of fast cut punching that gets you intimately associated with Mr Craig's chin.

The serious down to business ethos of the new bond means an inherently simple plot is told so obliquely you feel the script was written in an ancient code and traded memorable lines for high brow references to oil prices and the environment. Yet even the film makers lose faith in this dark, satirical, political feel by including a character called Strawberry Fields who wears nothing more than a raincoat and whose sole purpose appears to be to allow a punch-in-the-face subtle reference to Goldfinger.

There is at least lashings of style in the set dressing and use of locations which gives a feeling of quality and a production budget well spent. However the short running time (for a Bond film anyway) feels less like a relief and more like a consequence of cutting out narrative, character and a few more long shots in the set pieces. Even the credit sequence is lackluster.

With a strong lead in Daniel Craig and a fairly indestructible formula it would would be harsh to describe Quantum Of Solace as failure. However something that feels like a po-faced Bourne facsimile is a waste of a Bond film. For all the talk of a new dawn for Bond this is the fourth consecutive Bond film written by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade - writers who also came up with Johnny English - and here it feels like they are trying to turn out something that feels unnatural to them to fit with a perceived fashion. More worryingly the next Bond film looks set to continue the story and make the same mistakes all over again.


Post a Comment

<< Home