001. The plot
Seeking solace (see, the title does make sense) in revenge after Vesper’s betrayal and death in Casino Royale, Bond uncovers an invisible worldwide organisation named Quantum and their plan to aid a coup in Bolivia in exchange for a vast tract of desolate land.
002. The villains
Mathieu Amalric is Dominic Greene, a supposed environmentalist and agent of Quantum. Though he lacks the usual distinguishing feature that’s characteristic of Bond baddies (though some have pointed out his bug-eyes count), he has an unnerving smarminess about him.
Jesper Christensen returns to add flesh to the character of creepy Mr White, while Joaquin Cosio is General Medrano, the man with eyes on taking Bolivia by force.
003. The girls
Ukrainian Olga Kurylenko is fiery Camille, a woman who like Bond is out for revenge and shows it by being all furrowed brow and fury. But beneath her anger lies a vulnerability that prevents her from being a one-note character.
Gemma Arterton takes the role of ‘token unfortunately-named Bond girl’, playing the short-lived Strawberry Fields. Fields’ oily death is, of course, a direct nod to Jill Masterson’s gold painted demise in Goldfinger.
004. Best moments
Is the pre-titles sequence the best Bond car chase ever? It’s certainly in the top three, and has a smirk-inducing end when we see who’s been in the boot throughout. The entire opera house sequence is a thing of beauty and features some inspired cross-cutting, as Tosca blares and guns silently rattle.
The dogfight above the Bolivian desert is spectacularly shot, and in terms of impressive aerial antics ranks second only to You Only Live Twice. And though it’s only a small moment, 007 throwing Greene the oil can and leaving him to die in the desert is an effective demonstration of Bond’s cold mindset in the film.
» Quantum of Solace‘s theme ‘Another Way to Die’ is the first ever Bond song to be a duet. It’s sung by Jack White and Alicia Keys. It’s also the fourth Bond song to use the word ‘die’ in the title.
» Mathieu Amalric is the fourth French actor to play a Bond villain, following in the footsteps of Michael Lonsdale (Hugo Drax, Moonraker), Louis Jourdan (Kamal Khan, Octopussy) and Sophie Marceau (Elektra King, The World is Not Enough).
» It’s the first Bond film to actually show Bond physically drunk.
» The name of the character Craig Mitchell was based on the surnames of Daniel Craig and his then girlfriend Satsuki Mitchell.
» For Bond’s 11 costume changes during the film 400 items of clothing were created, all by American designer Tom Ford, who Craig had personally commissioned for the film.
» M: “It’d be a pretty cold bastard who didn’t want revenge for the death of someone he loved.”
» Camille: [to Bond] “There is something horribly efficient about you.”
» Bond: “They say you’re judged by the strength of your enemies.”
» M: “When someone says ‘We’ve got people everywhere’, you expect it to be hyperbole! Lots of people say that. Florists use that expression. It doesn’t mean that they’ve got somebody working for them inside the bloody room!”
» Bond: [to hotel receptionist] “Hello. We’re teachers on sabbatical and we’ve just won the lottery.”
007. The verdict
The first ever direct sequel in the franchise, 2008’s Quantum of Solace manages to work as both a conclusion to Casino Royale‘s storyline and a standalone adventure in itself, although its direct ties to Craig’s 2006 debut and its brief running time do mean that the film feels a little less substantial than previous adventures.
However, it is a glorious feast for the eyes, with a striking visual aesthetic that surpasses all its predecessors since the ‘60s in camerawork and design. The opera house, dilapidated Haiti, the Bolivian desert hotel, even Mitchell’s flat; Daniel Craig thunders through one beautifully-shot location after another thanks to Roberto Schaefer’s cinematography and Marc Forster’s direction.
If you’ve only watched QoS once then it deserves a second, or even third, viewing to appreciate its many qualities. It’s a more compact affair than many were expecting, and its fiery finale leaves much to be desired, but much like Craig’s Bond it’s fast, efficient, and accomplishes what it sets out to do. Bond’s had his revenge. What new course will 007 find himself on in Skyfall?
What do you think of Quantum of Solace? Let us know below…