|Quantum of Solace|
| (Plot Details: This review reveals minor details about the movie's plot.)|
What a moral morass is Quantum of Solace. But what movie-making! Daniel Craig is a James Bond hitherto unknown, with Director Marc Forster taking him to places never before explored.
Quantum: the smallest amount of a physical quantity that can exist independently. If Bond (with Craig wearing his clothes and his mentality) receives just a quantum of solace (that smallest amount) by movie's end, then how much revenge filled his brain, his heart, his very essence? This is a Bond unstoppable, unimaginable, brutal--the epitome of a cold-hearted killer who seemingly just stepped out of an opera house peopled with evening clothes or the streets ferociously gang-dominated, tux on, weapon in hand, seeking that quantum of solace. Beware!
This is a Bond that even "M" cannot control. She tries. Lord help her, she tries. Bond's job is on the line, her job is on the line. Never before has "M" been anything than totally self-assured, but this is an "M" who finds herself behind the matresses, a woman reduced to just a woman who removes her makeup at night like any other woman who works a 9-5 job. The only problem is "M" is supposed to be a force of power, control, behind-the-scenes domination. Who took her whip? Bond, of course. His mission is not impossible nor is his identity a mystery. All he seeks is a quantum of solace.
So a British man of mystery to the unknowing eye is really a secret agent with a license to kill. And kill Bond does--without hesitation, without remorse, without doubt. He spares only two moments to matters other than his revenge-driven quest: he gingerly embraces his old friend Mathis, and he has the obligatory sex scene. The embrace is necessary, even the scant sex scene is incongruous in context and should have lay on the cutting room floor, and initially erased right out of this script.
Calling the character of Camille (Olga Kurylenko) the "Bond girl" is an insult to this character. This is not the same-ol', same-ol' sexy girl who makes Bond's acquaintance in bed. This is an equal, also seeking a quantum of solace. Let the viewer take note: Everything is new about this Bond film.
Even the villain is less than a pure force as in the past. Superficially benevolent, he is buying up dry lands (with water on them) to make a killing (take that literally and metaphorically). Only in the occasional moment does this villain show his hidden evil. Why the lessening of caricature so notable in previous Bond films? To contrast Bond's unrelenting force of revenge? To show that all characters are capable of their opposite? Or perhaps to show the moral morass that our universe has become?
The outcome of Bond's quest is, of course, expected. He seizes his quantum of solace, but he is forever changed. Daniel Craig takes the viewer with him and shows what he (as actor and agent) is really capable of. What will the next film show about Bond's character, about Craig's incomparably nuanced acting?
What is the source of Bond's need for revenge, his quantum of solace? That answer is found in Casino Royale.
Monday, July 26, 2010
The new Bond
Books on my very ambitious TBR list (*denotes read)
- *Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox
- The Odd Women by George Gissing
- The Zen of Fish by Trevor Corson
- How to Get Your Child to Love Reading by Esme Raji Codell
- The Cod Tale by Mark Kurlansky
- In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
- *Joan of Arc by Mark Twain
- Dag Hammarskjold by Elizabeth Rider Montgomery
- The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet by Rabbi Michael L. Munk
- Children of Strangers by Lyle Saxon
- Spiritual Writings by Flannery O'Connor
- Nightmares and Visions: Flannery O'Connor and the Catholic Grotesque by Gilbert H. Muller
- The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O'Connor
- Flannery O'Connor's South by Robert Coles
- Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
- Sylvanus Now by Donna Morrissey
- *Vincent de Paul by Margaret Ann Hubbard
- Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
- A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking
- The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel
- Readicide by Kelly Gallagher
- *Ruined by Paula Morris
- Say You're Not One of Them by Uwem Akpan
- Wandering Star by J.M.G. Le Clezio
- Silence by Shusaku Endo
- *The Assault by Harry Mulisch
- Kari's Saga by Robert Jansson
- *The German Mujahid by Boualem Sansal
- Western Skies by Joseph Conrad
- *The Giver by Lois Lowery
- *Imperium by Ryszard Kapuscinski