“If you could avoid killing every possible lead, Bond, then that would be appreciated.” M’s words to 007 pretty well sum up the nature of Quantum of Solace, the follow up to Casino Royale, and the first direct Bond sequel.
Picking up directly where Casino Royale finished, the film sees Bond embark on a journey to find the reason for the death of his lover from the previous film, Vesper. What he unearths is an environmental group heading by the pseudo-illustrious Dominic Greene, which aims to control the entire water supply of large parts of Latin America. His mission sees him team up with Camille, a beautiful but ruthless secret agent with a similar personal vendetta. Not knowing whom he can trust, even within MI6, Bond is forced to fall back on his instincts, his training, and his friendship with the CIA’s Felix Leiter.
The film is still quintessentially Bond-esque – a world-wide organisation aiming to exert global power and influence, exotic locations, fast cars, a lover, M, and an explosive finale resulting in the total destruction of the enemy’s HQ.
But there are several notable absences from the film. The lack of gadgets is understandable given the fact that the film follows on directly where the previous one left off, but does definitely leave one wanting for a car which rockets or a watch armed with poison gas. Craig himself said that he very much wanted Q to appear in the next film.
The second is the lack of a love scene with the Bond girl herself. Olga Kurylenko, who plays Camille, afterwards said that she hated doing love scenes, but die-hard Bond fan will be disappointed by the absence.
In terms of filming style, it also borrows heavily from the later Bourne films, with the fight scenes feeling very fast and jerky, and often switching between two events of high excitement during the course of a fight scene. While this adds dramatic effect, it does also mean that the viewer is not entirely sure what is actually happening during the back-to-back action sequences.
That said, the overall finish is visually stunning, well acted, and necessarily high-octane. Bond bleeds, buildings explode, and the opening car-chase along the side of Lake Garda is to die for.
007 will return.