out of Five
Running time: 105
Hugely enjoyable Bond movie, with strong performances, a hard-edged script and terrific action sequences, even if the filmmakers do appear to have a serious case of Bourne Envy.
What's it all about?
Picking up immediately where Casino Royale left off, Quantum of Solace opens with a spectacular car chase before an interrogation reveals that Quantum, the organisation that blackmailed Vesper, is far more complex and far-reaching than anyone had imagined. Seeking vengeance, Bond (Daniel Craig) follows a forensic trail to Haiti, which leads him to ruthless businessman Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric).
Bond promptly gets involved with Greene's ostensible mistress, the beautiful but mysterious Camille (Olga Kurylenko), when he saves her from an attempt on her life. However, Camille has a vendetta of her own so the two team up to take down Greene and his ally General Medrano (Joaquin Cosio), while keeping one step ahead of both the CIA and MI6 after Bond goes rogue.
Daniel Craig has really settled into the role of Bond, making it completely his own and even bringing a slightly softer side that previous Bonds have lacked, most notably during a scene where he holds a dying comrade. There's also reliably excellent work from Judi Dench as M and strong support from Jeffrey Wright (reprising his role as CIA agent Felix Leiter), Giancarlo Giannini (returning as Mathis) and Mathieu Amalric, who's suitably weaselly as Greene.
As for the Bond girls, Olga Kurylenko is superb as Camille (delivering an impressive Spanish accent) and her hard-edged quest for vengeance leads to one of the best scenes as Bond advises her on how to kill her prey. Gemma Arterton is equally good as Agent Fields (we only find out her first name during the end credits), but she's given woefully little screen time, to the point where you wonder if some of her scenes were cut out.
The set pieces and action sequences are excellent, even if the fight scenes and chase scenes seem closely modelled on the Bourne movies. Highlights include a spectacular foot chase on the rooftops of Siena and a shoot-out at an opera house to the accompaniment of Tosca.
In short, Quantum of Solace is a satisfyingly hard-edged thriller that delivers plenty of bang for your buck. Highly recommended.
Quantum of Solace (12A)