Daniel Craig’s second outing as Ian Fleming’s James Bond, is the spy movie of the week as I continue exploring the original 007 novels. I have a few issues with this film, one of them being the running time, this is the first Bond film in quite sometime that isn’t two hours or more, and after you remove the film’s closing credits, it’s barely over an hour and a half.
The story, such as it is, isn’t given time to develop, or characters allowed to grow and explore arcs. And honestly, on its own, it doesn’t always work. It picks up minutes after the conclusion of the previous film, Casino Royale, and honestly, that’s the way it should be watched.
Paired back to back the film is stronger, taken on its own, not so much. Bond finds himself digging deeper into the shadowy organisation that was funding Le Chiffre, and finds himself coming up against Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) who’s character is seemingly going after a valuable discovery of oil, but in truth is after something more valuable – that is a plot point I liked, but it needed more explanation.
Joining him on his quest is Camille (Olga Kurylenko) who has a prior history with Greene and is out for revenge.
M (Judi Dench) is less than thrilled with 007’s behaviour, he still operates as a blunt instrument, and makes a half-hearted attempt to stop him, before unleashing him on Greene. All of which could have been developed a little more, while still highlighting some fantastic locations and some pretty cool action set pieces – I’m a fan of the opening car chase, and the post-opening titles foot chase.
Jeffrey Wright makes another welcome appearance as Felix Leiter, while Giancarlo Giannini returns as Mathis, and through it all we get more of a reveal of the mysterious organisation that seems to have people everywhere.
One of the things I did like was the film’s score. David Arnold, a longtime 007 fan is in his element putting the music for this film together, though the opening song featuring Jack White and Alicia Keys isn’t one of the best (though it has grown on me over the years).
All in all, this one feels like a bit of a letdown following Craig’s debut in Casino Royale. Still, watching them back to back makes for a very enjoyable viewing experience, and actually enhances Quantum of Solace quite a bit.
There are more Bond books to come, and so many spy movies to accompany them, so for now let’s just say, James Bond Will Return In (the non-canon) Never Say Never Again.