PG-13 for typical James Bond-sy stuff. It's violent, sexual, and now has a thing about torture. There's something more disturbing about a woman being covered and asphyxiated in oil and a woman who has been asphyxiated with gold. I don't know exactly what does it, but it is very upsetting. I would also like to point out that this movie stresses Bond's alcoholism and his bloodlust. Regardless, PG-13.
DIRECTOR: Marc Forster
See, this is actually kind of a treat. I keep mentioning in my Bond related blogs that I used to watch the James Bond movies on repeat just regularly. In retrospect, that probably wasn't the healthiest move, but it did build a love for cinema that wasn't necessarily contemporary. But Quantum of Solace came out in 2008. I started dating my wife in early 2009. Movies stopped really hitting repeat from that point on. My wife gets movies out of her system. So these other Bond viewings have mostly been an exercise to see how much of the movie I remembered off the top of my head. The only thing I remembered about Quantum of Solace were the cool location cards and the hotel sequence at the end.
I guess this makes good exercise to prepare for No Time to Die. Quantum of Solace is its own thing. I know that this movie is kind of poo-pooed. I like it. It has the unenviable task of being the follow-up to Casino Royale. I mean, that movie crushed. It was so big. Everyone saw that movie. Bond was about to get overshadowed by its emulators, then it became bigger than life again. We all saw something special in Casino Royale and the studio thought that they wanted lightning to strike twice. So the Daniel Craig Bond films all about origin stories. Quantum starts right after the end of Casino Royale. And as such, it has to be a natural association as one giant film. After all, that's what the folks at XBox did when they made their adaptation. But what accidentally happen is that the trauma of Vesper's death is kind of minimized with this film. I mean, Casino Royale dismounted so brilliantly. We were left with the stark realization that Bond had one moment of real vulnerability. Watching him rip people apart is a foregone conclusion.
I guess that means that Quantum of Solace faces a lot of the same problems as the Matrix sequels. When Neo flies off from the phone booth, we know that he's going to take the fight to the machines. While we don't see it, the potential of a fight and our imagination are infinitely better than anything that the silver screen has to offer. James Bond has always been this guarded character. We know that he's a force of nature, unstoppable by nature. He's devoted to his job. But we also know that he's the kind of character who has probably dealt with the unpleasant realities of being a spy. But this is the phase of Bond's career where he found joy in killing. One of the biggest problems I had with Licence to Kill was the idea that Bond got too gritty. I always liked the gentleman part of the spy business and Quantum of Solace kind of ignores it. What thrill I get, instead, is something primal. Bond killing indiscriminately is almost something of a curiosity. This is where the writer's strike kind of plays havoc...
See, the way I remember it, Quantum of Solace met the same problem that a lot of different movies at the time faced. I'm pretty sure that it was developed during the writer's strike. That means that the studio didn't really have the time to get this movie right. It really seems like the writers and the director wanted to say something about bloodlust. Bond just keeps killing in this one. Casino Royale toyed around with the idea that Bond's first kills affected who he was. "Made you feel it" and the like. So when Bond goes on a killing spree, it should affect the mission. M gets really upset at Bond's rogue attitude. But Bond doesn't really change his attitude by the end. If the message of the story is that Bond has lost his way, he never really has that moment of awareness that he lost himself in Vesper's death. Again, I blame this all on the writer's strike. The movie wanted to play around with the idea that Bond was closer to Ian Fleming's Bond, lost and imperfect. But the film Bond has always been perfect. We want him to be right because a failed Bond is something that isn't something that is part of the formula.
However, I'm griping about this movie because it is easy to write about things that went wrong with a film. They got Marc Forster to direct this movie. This is Monster's Ball and The Kite Runner Marc Forster. Yeah, Forster is being heavily influenced by Paul Greengrass and The Bourne Identity. But that being said, this movie looks gorgeous. Despite the fact that the movie was hindered by a mediocre script, Forster has the unpleasant job of having to compensate. And compensate he does. I think this might be one of the ore gorgeous Bond movies out there. I love that the more contemporary Bond movies aren't married to a specific look when it comes to design. There's a scene, right at the beginning, where Bond is chasing a double-agent in the catacombs of Italy. Juxtaposed to this is a horse race and it eventually collides. There's a lot of these moments. Coupled with this comes the idea that the location cards are really stylized as heck. I love what was done with the script they had. I mean, I don't really care that Dominic Greene might be TOO Bond villain-y. The way that the acting and the directing came together made a fantastic Bond movie. Yeah, I'll say it.
Sure, I'm bummed that Quantum is really hyped up to be something along the lines of SPECTRE. If I'm not mistaken, Spectre retcons Quantum to being a branch of SPECTRE, but it seems like their big plans for being an underground society didn't really have a lot of weight. I thought the movie was supposed to be about Bond and company looking over their shoulders and questioning everyone in MI6. But I love the idea behind it. At the beginning, Mr. White talks about the paranoia inside of Quantum and the joy that comes with finding out that MI6 has no idea what Quantum even is.
But this one actually has a lot more going for it than I remember. I think I liked it at the time, but now I genuinely like this movie. I don't care that it isn't as good. It still holds up.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.