Published Dec 07, 2012In conception and theme, the 22nd Bond film, a direct sequel to the 2006 series reboot, Casino Royale, has a rich and complex focus on character—and Bond's development—worked more in theory than in execution. Taking up where Royale left off, it finds Bond enraged and coolly focused on revenge after the death of Vesper Lynd left him—an orphan—again left alone in the world. And when an attempt is made on M's (Judi Dench) life, he's sent over the edge, seeking out those responsible, which leads to the environmentalist, Dominic Greene (Mathieu Almaric), who is working with an exiled Bolivian General to overthrow his government in exchange for an unassuming desert.
Mirroring Bond's path of vengeance is the trajectory of Dominic's girlfriend Camille (Olga Kurylenko), who is literally sleeping with the enemy to get close to the Bolivian General that murdered her entire family.
This notion of revenge as mode of solace holds a lot of dramatic potential, expanding on Bond's defensive image presentation during the preliminary stages of his character development to show the fraying around the edges of his identity. But Marc Forster wasn't quite as keen on thinking outside of the box as Royale director Martin Campbell, instead opting for reiterating the Bourne aesthetic, popular for the time, while glossing over anything of emotional significance.
He handles superficial elements well, injecting the MI6 liaise at the Bolivian consult, Strawberry Fields (Gemma Arterton), with minor comic intrigue, similarly making the many action sequences quite propulsive and visceral, despite the shitty cinematography. It's just a shame that the handful of potentially powerful moments between Bond and M, discussing her trust in him, or those between Bond and Camille, handling their shared identity as construct of vengeance, come rarely and have little intensity.
Resultantly, the moderately entertaining and visually slick Quantum of Solace is unable to live up the expectations of its predecessor, serving the story and character arc only in a rudimentary capacity. Fortunately, Sam Mendes was handed the reigns for the next film, Skyfall, reinvigorating the rebooted tone of the franchise, injecting introspection and human complexities into the standard Bond mix.
Quantum of Solace screens at the TIFF Bell Lightbox as part of the Shaken, Not Stirred: Bond on Film retrospective at 7:30pm on December 9th, 2012 and at 9pm on January 2nd, 2013. (MGM / Sony)