Quantum of Solace follows James Bond’s story (Daniel Craig) just after Casino Royale’s events. He is on a mission to avenge his fallen lover and is assisted by Camilla Montes (Olga Kurylenko), who is also on a similar revenge path. Their journey leads them on a head-on collision with the Quantum organization, headed by Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), whose main goal is staging a military revolution in Bolivia and control the country’s water supply.
Quantum of Solace is perhaps the only James Bond franchise that did not entirely take inspiration from one of Ian Fleming’s classic spy novel series. Following Casino Royale’s success, Producer Mıchael G. Wilson wanted to continue the series showing a more humane interpretation of James Bond, a refreshing and much-needed revamp of the character.
In this film, a darker and grittier tone can be felt throughout the movie as we follow James Bond on a warpath to enact revenge for his lover’s death from Casino Royale, quite the opposite happy-go-lucky seemingly-emotional, James Bond characters that went before him. Expect to see a James Bond with a chip on his shoulder and will not stop until he finds the justice that he so deeply desired from Casino Royale.
Bond films are not known for their scripts, as much of the focus is on the action scenes, gorgeous set pieces, and of course, the PG 13 + content. But Paul Haggis did a marvelous job of polishing the earlier script penned by the producer Michael G. Wilson.
The new script focused on building the stakes around environmentalism. Where previous films centered on villains who wished for global domination, Quantum of Solace’s script gave the film a more down-to-earth feel by focusing on modern-day issues such as global warming, which can be seen with the myriad of mentions from background characters as James Bond makes his way through the cities.
The script is also an exemplary example of how to “show don’t tell” as there are very few exposition bombs, and the audience must imply certain character’s intention through careful examination of their dialogue and through their actions in the scene, which helps us get a glimpse of what it’s like living a life of espionage where information is as precious as gold.
Yet, despite its inspiration to build a movie on an entirely original script, the film still manages to pay homage to the novels by sprinkling tidbits of famous quotes from the books. One of our favorites would be “I can’t seem to find the stationery.” It’s an appreciated nod to the long-time fans of the series.
Characters and acting
You can never go wrong when watching an action movie that stars Daniel Craig. Besides doing most of his stunts, Daniel manages to keep himself in character as he leaps through rooftops or dodges gunfire as the titular character role. There may not have been as much action in this film when compared to Casino Royale, but Daniel Craig still maintains a high level of cool and suave despite the rigorous and physical demands of playing the role.
Olga Kurylenko manages to hold herself well even under pressure, given that she has to do a lot of stunts herself as well as near explosions and fight scenes.
Both of these actors share good chemistry on-screen that makes you root for them as soon as you see them on screen. They build off each other’s pain and redemption quite well throughout the movie and will definitely be one of the more unforgettable couples in the James Bond franchise.
Music and cinematography
As with all the previous Bond films, music is a heavy focus, and Quantum of Solace does not disappoint. Continuing the tradition of opening with a large orchestral song, David Arnold, the film’s main composer, gave homage to the previous Bond theme with an original and first duet song played by Jack White and Alicia Keys.
The background music also hits all the emotional notes no matter what scene is on screen, whether it be James Bond facing death in the eyes in one of his iconic trapped-with-no-way-out scenes, or when James Bond is in emotional scenes as he comes to grip with the secrets he uncovered about his past lover.
For cinematography, Quantum of Solace is an absolute delight for connoisseurs of the traditional filmmaking styles. There was minimal use of CGI effects in this film, quite the opposite of Pierce Brosnan’s take on James Bond. The car chase scenes are a marvel to behold, especially when you try to imagine how the stunt coordinators could have even shot a scene like that.
One of the best things about watching Bond movies is that we always get treated to a two-hour round trip worldwide. Quantum of Solace boasts scenes from at least six countries and shows the best views of Italy, Haiti, Bolivia, and so much more. Hats off also to Director Marc Foster, who made full use of Bolivia’s natural beauty in filming the film’s many action scenes.
With all that being said, Quantum of Solace is also the most violent in the series. We don’t recommend watching with anyone below twelve years old, with its gratuitous depiction of deaths.
Quantum of Solace is the fourth-highest-grossing film of the James Bond series for a good reason. It sports Daniel Craig in his prime that continued the story from the risky-yet-successful reboot of the James Bond in Casino Royale, and it does not disappoint with adrenaline-pumping action scenes and a powerfully honest depiction of James Bond, not as the invulnerable world-renowned spy, but as a relatable man who struggles with his own demons and overcomes it while saving the world all at the same time.