Saturday, October 25, 2008

Quantum of Solace

Despite the tremulous camera work and jilted editing, most of the film packs a punch of novelty, particularly in an ageing genre. It is a morose and sometimes pouting discussion of revenge and forgiveness, peppered with incessant violence and occasional stupidity. But despite a list of careless flaws, it is otherwise reluctantly engaging.

Die hard Bondies will miss the gadgets. Apart from a host of Minority Report touch screen intelligence systems and a really handy camera phone, Bond relies on his violent wit and ruthless resolve. In addition, the stunts are nearly credible for the most part (but do look out for the high performance traditional fishing boat) and smack of brutality. Likewise, Bond kills, drives, shoots and drinks with equal gusto. He is flawed, dark and fierce. It is a pleasure to be told a story of James Bond, the man.

Having said that, and though the film was enjoyable, there was something missing. The leads were great, the characterisation fresh, the heroine believable, feminine and charming. The make-up was superb, the special effects understated. The lighting, composition and script were tidy. There were no ludicrous sex scenes or innuendo and only a couple of easy one liners. Though the plot was as thin as trip wire, it nearly worked. And the branding was somewhat trimmed down from the previous adfest. So what was the problem?

I think Craig plays Bond too well, or at least with too much satisfaction. Although we're sick of hesitating heroes, lofty and insecure on their moral high ground, there has to be some duality in the anti-hero. Craig's Bond is driven, mean and efficient, a real do-er. He grunts and gets hurt and bashes people without reserve. He's the Bauer/Bourne Bond, the tough, slighted go getter of the 21st Century. But that's it. The ambiguity of a credible or sensual anti-hero is effervescent. You rarely sense anything more than what is shown on screen. There's no hesitation, build up or emotional tension. It tells you what you want to hear, without seduction, when you want to hear it. So it satisfies... But I like to be teased. I've had enough of the spectacle. And for me, that's all Quantum of Solace really is, another cleverly disguised spectacle of million dollar proportions. Nevertheless, it is probably the most genuine film from the Bond legacy and I recommend it with...

DIARIT: 7.5/10

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