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Daniel Craig
Judi Dench
Giancarlo Giannini
Gemma Arterton
Mathieu Amalric
Olga Kurylenko
Paul Haggis.
Marc Forster.
Neal Purvis
Robert Wade.
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Quantum of Solace
It’s The Dark Knight of James Bond movies.

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Still angered by the death of Vesper Lynd, James Bond (Craig) goes after the shadowy international organisation he holds responsible, even when M (Dench) orders him to stand down. Bond clashes with Dominic Greene (Amalric), who is cornering Bolivia’s water supply, and teams with Camille (Kurylenko), who has her own mission of vengeance.

Quantum of Solace
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Quantum Of Solace picks up moments after the credits rolled at the end of Casino Royale, with Daniel Craig’s bereaved and blooded Bond in Siena, wrecking his Aston Martin in a pre-credits car chase complicated by thick traffic, twisty mountain roads and emotional Italian drivers. In his car-boot, with a bullet in his leg, is Mr White (Jesper Christensen), a higher-up in the cartel (Quantum) which employed and then killed the baddie of the earlier film, and who Bond blames for the death of the girl he loved last time round. Mr White is taken to be grilled by M, just as the local horse race (the palio) is taking place (obviously, the filmmakers saw the documentary The Last Race too), only for the villain to sneer that MI6 and the CIA obviously know nothing about Quantum’s many well-placed agents, whereupon someone presumably trustworthy pulls a gun – and Bond is back in action, leaving wounded enemies and allies behind as he barges through crowds, runs up stairs, dangles from scaffolding and dodges swinging girders to get his man.

In an era marked by franchise bloat, it’s entirely admirable that Quantum of Solace is the shortest Bond movie to date – it drops a great many of the long-running series mannerisms (callous quips, expository lectures, travelogue padding, Q and Moneypenny) as it globe-trots urgently from Italy to Haiti to Austria to Italy again to Bolivia to Russia with stopovers in London and other interzones. The major gadget on offer is a neat trick with a mobile phone, which the film trusts us to follow without a pompous lecture on how it works, and there’s a nod to traditionally absurd Bond girl names in Gemma Arterton’s Agent Fields – she refuses to give her real, silly, embarrassing name which we only find out from the end credits (it’s not Gracie or London). Everything in this movie is edited as if it were an action sequence, which means that when the set-pieces come they have to go into overdrive to stay ahead of the game, with Bourne veteran Dan Bradley staging more brutal, devastatingly fast fights and chases. We get striking locations (including primaeval caves and a South American desert) and absolutely gorgeous, stylised art direction – but there’s little lingering on the backdrops, since a brief establishing shot is usually enough to set up the nimble, nifty, explosive action that takes place against them.

Previously, the Bond films have been a series, but this is an actual sequel – an approach Ian Fleming used in his books, but which was dropped from the movies because the novels were filmed out of order. This makes for a film which hits the ground running, but also means we get less to latch onto emotionally since Daniel Craig became the complete 007 over the course of Casino Royale, and here just has to be set loose. The sparks struck between the wounded hero and scarred heroine Camille – whose revenge-driven sub-plot owes a lot to July Havelock, the girl from the story ‘For Your Eyes Only’ – don’t match those between Craig and Eva Green last time round because this Bond is human enough to start worrying about how regularly his girlfriends get killed. The slinky, sultry Olga Kurylenko is in fact so fixed on murdering her enemy that it’s possible she technically doesn’t even count as a Bond girl – she’s good, but doesn’t get the breakout showcase Green landed in Casino Royale. However, for the diehard romantics, Bond does tenderly hug a dying male friend before disposing of his corpse in a dumpster (‘he wouldn’t care’) and gives Camille handy tips on professionally assassinating the extremely unpleasant would-be dictator who slaughtered her family.

Casino Royale had one of Fleming’s best plots to stick to, but Quantum of Solace is on its own, taking only its title from the 1960 story. Extrapolating from hints dropped in the earlier film about who ran the late LeChiffre, it introduces Quantum, a SPECTRE-type organisation which ought to be good for a few more movies. The notion of an international alliance of high-stakes criminals with heavy political ties is Flemingesque, but gets a credible, cynical 21st Century spin in that the American and British governments (and security services), above criticism in Fleming’s day, are perfectly happy to get in bed with killers and megalomaniacs so long as the oil keeps flowing – which forces Bond out on his own, pursuing a crusade either for utterly altruistic (helping drought-blighted Bolivian peasants) or utterly selfish (getting his own back on the one small fish directly responsible for Vesper’s plight) motives. Quick jabs evoke highlights of the earlier films, as Craig’s sea-bathing in Casino Royale referenced Ursula Andress in Dr No; one major character’s fate is a stark black updating of one of the most famous early Bond images, and signals which commodity has become most prized in a world where Goldfinger or Blofeld would seem like jokes.

Daniel Craig continues to be his own man as Bond, though this instalment scarcely gives him breathing room between strenuous activity to show off his more stylish or snobbish aspects. When he chugs his signature martini (take notes as the bartender rattles off the recipe) even devoted allies worry that seven brain-numbing drinks in a row might not be good for the agent’s long-term mental state or ability in the field. Craig looks good in a tux, blending into the crowd at an opera first night where the villains have convened to mutter evilly through Tosca, and wears his bruises and scratches like badges of honour. He shows a certain expense account flair in turning down a modest La Paz pensione to check into the poshest hotel in the city by insisting that the ‘teacher on sabbatical’ he is pretending to be has won the lottery. But, presumably coached by Bradley, he is at his most elegant in tiny action moments – upending an idling motorbike to send a minor thug flying, casually stepping off balconies and walking along ledges, efficiently crippling a liftful of agents trying to arrest him.

With all the ills of the world down to Quantum, the baddies we see are – like those in Dr No, From Russia With Love and Thunderball – junior associates of archfiends who operate at such a high level we don’t even get to meet their cats. The French Mathieu Amalric makes the smarmy fake environmentalist Greene a suitably loathsome character, as much for his persistently cruel treatment of his mistress Camille as his complicated scheme to overthrow the government of Bolivia and grab the country’s natural resources; like Mads Mikkelsen’s LeChiffre, he’s young and fit enough to hold his own in a scrap, but has a nice line in craven delegation, posing a minion with a gun to face certain death as he tries to escape the climactic spectacular conflagration, and gets some of the smart, threatening, witty script patches we assume Paul Haggis dropped in. A nod also to the Mexican Joaquin Cosio, who plays a South American would-be dictator whose filthy foreign habits (like celebrating a big deal by raping a waitress) Fleming would have enjoyed despising.

A pacy, visually imaginative follow-up to the series relaunch. If it doesn’t even try to be bigger and better than Casino Royale, that’s perhaps a smart move in that there’s still a sense at the finish that Bond’s mission has barely begun and he’ll need a few more movies to work his way up to demolishing the apparently undefeatable Quantum organisation. As with The Dark Knight, the only real caveat is that while it’s exciting and imaginative, it’s not exactly anyone’s idea of fun. To keep in the game, perhaps the next movie – The Hildebrand Rarity? Riscio? The Property of a Lady? – could let the hero enjoy himself a bit more.

Reviewed by Kim Newman

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Average user rating for Quantum of Solace
Empire Star Rating

Quantum of Solace Review

Brutal and breathless, Quantum Of Solace delivers tender emotions along with frenetic action. Not as good as franchise reboot Casino Royale, but still an impressive entry to the Bond canon. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 22:48, 17 January 2012 | Report This Post

RE: Quantum of Something

God, this was an awful film wasn't it? They hired a character piece director for a film that had no character development at all.  ... More

Posted by hatebox at 14:54, 10 December 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Quantum of Something

Interesting that so many think Green wasn't a good enough villain. Though it pretty realistic that he was oily (totally fits the use of oil in the film) and his position of power made him what he was, not his physicality. Plus, the film was still about bond becoming bond. To use a computer game analogy, the first boss you fight is never the baddest boss you fight. And with the character building stuff for Bond sorted, the balance between iconic bond and iconic baddie is totally set up. ... More

Posted by jobloffski at 14:51, 08 December 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Quantum of Something

I'm psyched about Quantum, I think organisations are the ideal villain. Quantum suffered in the villain department. Almaric, though a great actor, had to embody too much, he had to embody the entire films villainy. Those types of villains are really hard to do these days in a convincing way. Think for a moment about the real world. Who are actual existing villains? It's always an corporation. a government, or a cult or a group of religious extremists. I think the writers got it right... More

Posted by Pencilton Phoenix at 13:44, 08 December 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Good

I've probably posted this review here before, I think it's bang-on the money (every penny of it) and it sums up the film superbly: Bush review "], who couldn't follow the plot, which is clearly obvious and well defined throughout, has a serious case of receptive dysphasia "hter, who is fourteen, had no problems. And she's blonde ... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 15:47, 05 December 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Good

Greene was more about playing mind games with Bond, covering Fields in oil, the "looks like you lost another one" line and how he handled Camille at the beginning. Granted, Greene didn't strap Bond to a chair and tickle his nether region, but he did help orchestrate the death of Mathis and generally proved to be quite a pain for Bond. Perfectly summed up by how Bond gave him motor oil before stranding him in the desert. t the end of it, Green just like LeChiffre was a disposable pawn. A di... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 00:13, 03 December 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Good

. ... More

Posted by rich at 20:15, 02 December 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Quantum of Something

Dominic Green was shit because he didn't do anything. Bond and Le Chiffre got plenty of screen time together which made for some excellent dialogue and tension. ... More

Posted by rich at 20:14, 02 December 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Quantum of Something

A lot of people have said that Dominic Green was a weak villain, but what many don't get is he was supposed to be weak. Not even LeChiffre was physically intimidating, he managed to tie Bond down to a chair because Bond had just emerged from a damn car crash! Greene had major power and influence and that's where his threat came from. I thought he was wonderfully played by Mathieu Amalric as a very smarmy and cocky figure. The oil scene was quite clever and I like Marc Forster's perceptive visio... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 15:56, 02 December 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Quantum of Something

L: Emyr Thy King What did everyone make of Quantum in the film? Great potential for the future? hey set it up to be the new Spectre which is why I'm mystified that they're dropping Quantum for Skyfall. Unless they're just planning to 'do a Goldfinger'. ... More

Posted by Spaldron at 13:43, 02 December 2011 | Report This Post

Quantum of Something

What did everyone make of Quantum in the film? Great potential for the future? ... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 23:31, 01 December 2011 | Report This Post

James........... your'e no fun anymore !

To start with, for a bond film that has filmed in more countries than any other, there doesn't seem to be much difference in the colour scheme. It's a very biege and bleached looking film. Although a very stylish opera sequence gives us much to admire though wouldn't look out of place in a bond film looks out of place in this film and sadly feels quite tacked on. One thing that bond films and always tended to be is fun. Here, this one, not so much. Implied rape, kill now never ask questions lat... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by giallo at 02:59, 29 May 2011 | Report This Post

James........... your'e no fun anymore !

To start with, for a bond film that has filmed in more countries than any other, there doesn't seem to be much difference in the colour scheme. It's a very biege and bleached looking film. Although a very stylish opera sequence gives us much to admire though wouldn't look out of place in a bond film looks out of place in this film and sadly feels quite tacked on. One thing that bond films and always tended to be is fun. Here, this one, not so much. Implied rape, kill now never ask questions lat... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by giallo at 02:59, 29 May 2011 | Report This Post

Bond 23 must be better

The only thing I can say is that Bond 23 has to be better! They can start with writing a better script! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by The Great Danton at 08:49, 31 October 2010 | Report This Post

Come on people!

This certainly isn't one of the Bond classics, but I don't think it should even be classed as a Bond movie, nor does it want to be. Instead this is more of an action thriller, and a superb one at that, if focusing a little too much on the action. But this is still top-notch entertainment. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by !xHoTRoDx! at 08:59, 26 April 2010 | Report This Post

Suitable follow-up to Casino Royale

Why Quantum of Solace is such an enjoyable experience is because it doesn't try to be better than its predecessor, or copy it in any way. Marc Forster creates his own style and lets the story and characters unfold without meddling too much; exactly what John Boorman should have done with Exorcist II: The Heretic. Watch the opening car chase and Siena rooftop sequence for prime examples. Daniel Craig is once again the driving force of this action-filled film (more on that later), making the worl... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by djphilips at 18:24, 07 April 2010 | Report This Post


NOT all that ! ... More

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Posted by spartan24 at 18:03, 21 March 2010 | Report This Post


I thought this was a good attempt to do a bourn-y genre,but not good enough,mark forster was completely copying paul greengrass' style,it wasn't original,but nonetheless it was a fun action flick but i don't think marc forster should be allowed to do the next one,but one of these guys should 1.Paul Greengrass 2.Michael Mann 3.Christopher Nolan ... More

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Posted by JohnPaul1996 at 15:21, 21 March 2010 | Report This Post

I enjoyed this movie it was a more realistic bond, was a good action film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by RyanNolan32 at 17:48, 09 November 2009 | Report This Post

Better on Rewatch.

I think it takes time to see why this is more like the last 50 pages of Casino Royale, if Casino Royale were a 400 page book. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by indysid at 12:31, 08 November 2009 | Report This Post

two words, big disappointment well done 4 making the bond ultermatum ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ivanahump at 11:38, 03 November 2009 | Report This Post

I take it back!

My review was based on my first watch in the cinema where I had a faulty air con blowing cold air at me so may have been responsible for my lack of enjoyment. Bought the DVD the other day and have watched it twice I enjoyed it so much!! I like the end where Judi Dench says "I need you back Bond" and he says "I never left!" Still think the taking Bolivias water thing is a bit poo as well as the CGI elements but I think this is a great little Bond film that will move on to b... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Andybee76 at 15:54, 30 September 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Good

I am a 'huge' Bond fan but I think the series has lost it's way, this doesn't know what it wants to be.  Trying too hard to be a Bourne film and not a Bond film.  If I wanted Bourne then that is what I'll watch as they are far superior to this nonsense!!!  Who cares if the villain wants the water supply of Bolivia!!!  How about some proper Blofeld type meglomania in the next one and a bit more like You Only Live Twice/Dr No/Spy Who Loved Me than the Bond Ultimatum!!!  A... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Andybee76 at 16:28, 08 June 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Quantum Of B*****ks!

For those who persist in not noticing the humour in QOS, remember this? Austin Powers: OWWW!! That hurt! Who throws a shoe? You fight like a girl. In QOS Bond, during a fight scene, actually throws a shoe! Also, for almost ten years I have, without previously noticing, had a token meter for my gas that operates the Quantum system. Quantum isa REAL utilities provider related company and in provoking the reolution in the South America, what does the fictional Quantum want?... More

Posted by jobloffski at 16:17, 08 June 2009 | Report This Post

Quantum Of B*****ks!

What A Let Down!!! Although Craig Is Undeniably The Best Bond, And The Film Is Nice And Short, There Is No Fully Understandable Plot Line In This Movie. With Letdown Performances From Mathieu Almeric And Gemma Arterton, This Is Just People Banging Each Others Heads Against Walls And Is In No Way As Great And Thrilling And Painful As Casino Royale Was. Lets Hope That Mark Forster Isn't Working On The Next Bond....... ... More

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Posted by kermodenutter1 at 12:23, 04 June 2009 | Report This Post

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