by Rick Grant
C- / Rating PG-13 / 106 min
Call this muddled 22nd Bond film, Quantum of Confusion. It features 007 (Daniel Craig) on a mission of revenge to terminate those responsible for killing his girlfriend Vesper (Eva Green), which harkens back to Casino Royale. This continuation of the last film is at the heart of the scenario’s problems. While M (Judy Denche) is trying to find out more about a secretive syndicate that has international reach, Bond is off the reservation killing M’s witnesses. Has Bond gone rogue?
Meanwhile, the villain behind this international cabal is Dominic Greene, (Mathieu Amalric) is masquerading as philanthropist, making secret deals and paying off tinhorn dictators to buy up the world’s water supply. Bond is being shadowed by the CIA and a Brazilian secret agent, Strawberry Fields, (Gemma Arterton).
Daniel Craig portrays Bond as a cold and ruthless ex-special forces soldier with little time for women. His trysts are strictly mechanical. In other words, Craig’s 007 shows no hint of romance in his soul. He’s a killing machine on a mission. At one point in the story, M pulls his credentials. But Bond doesn’t lose any time tracking down his girlfriend’s killers and finding Greene for the inevitable showdown.
Directed by Marc Forster and written by Paul Haggis, the film lacks focus and continuity. The editing is herky-jerky and leaves holes in the story flow big enough to drive a truck through. One would think that the producer of a high budget Bond film would hire the best sound technicians. Moreover, the stunts, for which Bond films are famous, are cliche. The opening car chase is spectacular then the other stunt sequences are not up to Bond film’s standards.
The curious choice of Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, The Kite Runner) was an effort to bring more story integrity to this action franchise. Sadly, though, Forster did not meld the action into the story line with the intensity for which Bond films are noted. Not only is the dialogue poorly recorded, the international cast utter their lines in indiscernible accents. Craig adopts an intense expression of revenge and blood lust, which fits his character’s mood in this film. However, Craig never wavers from his steely look, which waxes boring as the story unfolds. Craig’s Bond just wants to kick ass and terminate as many of Greene’s men as possible.
After viewing this 007 episode, Bond devotees will ask certain rhetorical questions: Could Bond be reaching critical mass in terms of his ability to impress audiences? Has the franchise lost its luster? Time will tell!
At least Craig’s Bond is more human than the other actors’ caricatures. He bleeds, and gets dirty while wearing suits and his tux. His lined face has seen one too many missions. Ah yes, but he doesn’t seem to enjoy his martinis as much as in the past. Perhaps after 22 films, Bond has gone senile and can’t keep up with the demands of being a modern secret agent.
Toward the end of the scenario, M says to 007, “I want you back!” Band says, “I never left.” Yeah, as long as 007 has a license to kill and faces impossible missions, audiences can expect more Bond films in the future.
Quantum of Solace
by Rick Grant