Monday, 3 November 2008
Quantum of Solace
After a weekend spent struggling to birthdays and shops against near Siberia winds and endless rain, both of which have their charms but can grow wearing, I was very happy to take shelter at the cinema and watch Quantum of Solace.
I have been watching and reading James Bond for as long as I can remember. I have grown up with the character and always known him in my life in the way I have always known the Queen as my head of state and always had a roast on Sunday (well almost always). I know the novels and films aren't to every one's taste but I personally love the character for all his faults. I also find the attention to detail in the books and films and the design and locations in the films as interesting and fulfilling as the stories.
I loved the Casino Royale novel and was very pleased with the film, although I think a little less action at the beginning would have taken nothing away from the film. I have admired Daniel Craig's acting since before Bond and thought he would do a good job. My favourite Bond is Sean Connery but as I have always watched all the films I accept that every Bond is different and that the differences can bring strength to the film franchise and a variety to the viewer which is enjoyable.
I wonder if we would all love Sean Connery if he had gone on much longer, part of the reason his films are (mostly) so good is because he is playing the character at the perfect age and with a freshness and enthusiasm that obviously waned (I personally wish he had stuck to his original instinct and not returned for Diamonds are Forever).
I had revisited the Bond of Fleming last week by reading the Quantum of Solace collection of the Bond short stories, which I had never read and always been interested in. The story of Quantum of Solace itself is unrelated to the film, it's an anecdotal story as told to Bond over after dinner drinks by a civil servant. The story is interesting though because it introduces the concept of a quantum of solace which the new film does centre on; that is the amount or type of solace Bond needs to move on from his anguish over the fate of Vesper Lynd, his love interest in Casino Royale and one of Bond's only true loves throughout Fleming's books.
As all the reviews so say this film starts barely an hour after Casino Royale ends which is a new concept for a Bond film and actually works very well. The film is very action packed but actually when you think about it most Bond films are quite action focused. It is not at the expense of clever or witty dialogue but one of the wonderful things about Casino Royale was that they stuck quite faithfully to the story of the card game and the film managed to be very tense when all the main protagonists were in one room outwitting each other mentally rather than physically. There isn't as much room for those kind of exchanges in Quantum of Solace but the action is all qualified. In fact I would say the action is more integral in this film than some of the extended chases were in Casino Royale.
There is a fantastic sequence at a performance of Tosca which is very well shot and all the acting is really very good. Judi Dench is wonderful as ever and Daniel Craig seems to be Bond more than acting as him.
The film is tightly edited, perhaps a little too tightly in places but I would much prefer to be left wanting more than less and I most certainly do want more. I want to know more about Quantum, Bond and M's new Spectre like arch rivals. I also want to know more about how Bond develops post Vespa and if he will meet up with Camille again.
picture courtesy of www.commanderbond.net