Why I Love ‘Quantum of Solace’

Quantum-of-Solace-james-bond-9614441-1280-1024(some spoilers from the Daniel Craig era of Bond)

We all have those few movies that everyone seems to constantly hate on whilst we sit quietly, or not so quietly in some cases, reassuring ourselves that it’s ok that we really enjoy them. Well for me, amongst many others, Quantum of Solace (QoS) fits this brief. Daniel Craig’s second outing as James Bond was not received well and is often the victim of much criticism online. With hoards of Spectre reviews circulating at the minute, although mixed views are being expressed, one thing that fans are all agreeing on is that Quantum of Solace sucked. I disagree and believe that every movie is due a defense so this post will explain why I love Quantum of Solace.

I’m the first to admit that QoS has it’s problems. It’s too short often skimping on dialogue in the place of action, it’s villain isn’t very memorable, that extra who doesn’t know how to brush and then there was Strawberry Fields. Yeah the less said about her the better, although I was a fan of that Goldfinger tribute. Anyway less about why you guys all hate it and more on why I love it.

The opening credits are sandwiched between two of my favourite action sequences of the Bond era. I love the way the film starts panning almost silently across the water easing the viewer into a furious car chase which boasts the kind of ferocity that Sam Mendes’ latest efforts through the alleyways of Rome could not achieve. Then immediately after the opening credits the action just won’t let up as after the beginning of a interesting interrogation of Mr. White and the revelation of a deep double agent a thrilling foot chase commences. I’m partial to a chase on foot, these usually end up being some of my favourite sequences in Bond. Unfortunately, much of the beginning of this chase is plagued by the use of shaky cam but this quickly subsides. The sequence ends in a climatic fist fight amongst some scaffolding, this scene was very creative and still impresses me after so many watches. Let’s not forget the filling though – the opening credits are accompanied by one of my favourite Bond themes ever. The wonderfully daring ‘Another Way To Die’ by Jack White and Alicia Keys. This theme was divisive to say the least but its bold, brave and exciting feel matches the action heavy narrative of the film.

The appearance from Mr. White in the first sequence meant that QoS was very clearly following on from the events of the brilliant Casino Royale. In said film many questions were raised and they weren’t all answered. QoS gives us some of those answers. Whilst simultaneously answering questions and offering closure on the whole Vesper chapter the film also leaves the story open for more development, as we’ve seen more recently in Spectre. The themes dealt with in QoS mean that the film is low on laughs and is more serious and rightly so. Bond is looking for answers and parallel to his search comes a fantastic Bond girl in the shape of Olga Kurylenko’s Camille who is out for revenge. Similarly to Bond she too is looking to sooth her pain caused by the past, the pair compliment each other and contribute to the tone of the film. It’s satisfying to watch Camille settle her score and thankfully not succumb to Bond’s charm and go to bed with him which I wouldn’t have put past Bond but it would have been completely distasteful. So Camille ended up being a refreshingly distinct Bond girl avoiding the usual cliches and adding to the character and performance of Bond.  More of Judi Dench’s M and Jeffery Right’s Felix Leiter is also welcome in the film, successfully building some of Bond’s other relationships set aside from the women he is planning to bed.

As well as Mr. White the film’s main villain is Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) and I admit that compared to the likes of Le Chiffre and Silva he pails in comparison. Greene has his moments though and anyway this film is more about Bond overcoming his demons than any villain and Greene isn’t overpowering in a way that would have prevented or distracted from that. Greene does provide us with a final fist fight between him and Bond, something that I don’t think happens enough between these roles and this suits the films heavy emphasis on action. I don’t think Greene was ever meant to be that menacing though, it’s the people behind him that are the real threat and this is conveyed in the film well. Anyway as I said I like that he puts up a physical fight in the finale and his demise is particularly cruel when you really think about it proving satisfying for both Bond and his audience.

Even though I would happily substitute one of the films action sequences for some scenes with enthralling dialogue and more tension there isn’t a single action sequence in QoS that I don’t like. I’ve already commented on how much I enjoy the early action scenes in the film and this only continues with more fist fights, boat mayhem, planes and parachute and a memorable night at the opera. Always accompanying this action is the blooming brilliant score from David Arnold, one of my favourites of the series. He also successfully scores the softer moments of the film too being equally as memorable and effective as the big blockbuster moments. The score and main theme song mean that the music in QoS is always in the running for my favourite thing about this movie.

So with all this in mind is Quantum of Solace really that bad? Following Casino Royale and improving in quality was probably impossible so when compared to it and Skyfall I understand the stark contrast. However, I can’t simply dismiss this entry into the series either, I enjoy it so much and not in a kind of way that I enjoy The Man With The Golden Gun. Quantum of Solace is important for the progression of the Daniel Craig era and whilst it does this in a short but serious fashion it’s successful in producing an exciting and interesting spin on the usual Bond film. I urge you to give the film a second chance, you may just find something to enjoy that you missed before. If not I’ll most likely be taking refuge in the middle of the desert, much like Greene, avoiding the angry mob that is most likely forming!


11 thoughts on “Why I Love ‘Quantum of Solace’

  1. While I don’t love this film, I don’t think it’s that bad either. I actually loved Strawberry Fields in the film and thank you for being someone who likes Another Way To Die! It’s an awesome song! I also love the opening although I get so annoyed with the magic rope that ties itself around Bond’s leg in the scaffolding fight. I also LOVE the opera stuff. The thing I don’t like is that it doesn’t feel like it really understands the story it’s telling. It feels like it’s blagging its way through, hoping no one actually questions it. While I think it is a fun film to watch, I do think it’s pretty damn empty. And that extra sweeping the air… How did that even happen? It’s great!

    • It is a fantastic song, great follow up to the more rocky ‘You Know My Name’. Haha I can’t say I’ve noticed this magic rope but I’ll most likely never miss it now! It certainly lacks in a bit of meat to the story so I can understand why you think its empty. I think its stripped back to focus on Bond and Camille but more could have been done to expand the story whilst still keeping that focus. I’m glad you don’t completely hate the film though!

      • Haha yeah it’s just all of a sudden a rope is tied around Bond’s leg and just so they could do the cool bit where Bond is “swinging” towards the gun before the other guy gets his.

    • Yeah, it gets a hard time. Fully agree with you there, the only film to rival CR was Skyfall and even at that they are completely different types of Bond movies so it’s hard to compare. Thanks man!

  2. QoS is underrated, it has it’s flaws and ultimately pales in compariosn to Casino Royale and Skyfall but it does have some great moments – the opening car chase stands amongst some of my favourite Bond sequences and Craig is on top form. Nice piece.

  3. Agree 100% here. I think people just don’t understand it. Bond was totally in love and gave up everything for a girl who then betrayed him (so he thought). This is Bond mad and angry and having lost the plot – so the film follows him and kinda also loses the plot. So for me the film is a mirror to Bond and although it is a tough journey, we have to go through the story arc to its natural conclusion. This is when Bond finally confronts the man who caused Vesper to betray him and have the strength of character to not kill in mindless fury but find peace and closure… his quantum of solace. “…Did you find what you were looking for..?” says M. Probably I’ve made all that up but this is why I love QoS and why I think its a strong and powerful movie even if the baddies in it are not. And I know I am late contributing to this blog but since then we’ve seen the awfulness of where Mendes has taken Bond – back to some pastiche of Bond from the 70s and 80s – absolutely awful. In Mendes world of slapstick villains and silly gadgets surely Bond in QoS now appears as part of a really cool slick polished film with a realistic storyline.

    • Glad to see I’m not alone in my views. The film certainly went through some troublesome production but I still think has a lot going for it, all your comments about the character arc are so true. In a strange way I like the villains. Greene is just such a weasel and I don’t think this film needed a really memorable villain as you’ve stated it’s more about Bond’s arc this time. I have mixed feelings about Mendes’ direction for Bond. I thought Skyfall was excellent but SPECTRE felt so different to it, I’ve grown to like it but was initially disappointed. It’s definately got more in common with the Moore era and I don’t think this worked quite as well with modern audiences. I’m intrigued to see where Bond 25 goes but hopefully it will be in a positive direction!

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