Friday, November 07, 2008

Quantum of Solace-The Review

I just saw the new Bond flick Quantum of Solace a few hours ago. Yes I do like action movies at times despite my overwhelming bias for art house stuff. European surrealism, Latin American realism, Asian mysticism and Tarantinoesque paganism all have their own charm and so does mindless action flicks.

Coming back to the point, let me make it clear that this film might disappoint a lot of hardcore Bond fans. Not because it is bad but because it eliminates almost all the Bond stereotypes cultivated over five decades and adored by at least three generations of fans. Neither does he introduce himself like the way he used to nor does he ask for shaken (not stirred) vodka martini. In fact in the most ironic scene of the film he says that he doesn’t know what he is drinking (and the bartender explains)!

But having said all these I must say that I actually liked the film. I don’t want to discuss the plot here. It’s like any other Bond movie, some incorrigible bad guys trying to screw the world and Bond has to step in. I went to the theater basically looking for well executed action sequences and long car chases and I was not disappointed. It doesn’t keep you waiting for the adrenaline rush. It keeps coming in rapid intervals and keeps you hooked. And also like its predecessors it happens all over the world. They take you to Italy, Haiti, Austria, Bolivia & Russia in quick succession and indulge in some serious action as well as subsequent destruction of public property.

The performances are competent enough. Daniel Craig has now become accustomed to the role and I think the Brosnan hangover is gradually disappearing from the viewers’ minds. Olga Kurylenko oozes oomph as expected, more so because she is all tanned up for this role to show the Latino upbringing of the character. Dame Judi Dench is as usual graceful & dignified as M. Mathieu Amalric does a decent job as the chief villain and so do rest of the cast. Cinematography is excellent and I think it is better than previous bond flicks. Moving and shaking camera action lends more credibility to the scenes.

So that brings me to the director Marc Forster. As a matter of fact he is one of the guys I never expected to direct a Bond movie. I saw his Finding Neverland some years ago. It is still one of my personal favorites. I also liked Stranger than Fiction. I haven’t yet seen Monster’s Ball and I didn’t like The Kite Runner (Most probably because a friend of mine gave a very negative review of the novel itself). All of these movies are very personal movies with demure and subdued characters. Probably the producers wanted someone like him for this makeover of Bond. It is also noteworthy that Paul Haggis is one of the writers, a person who was involved with such films like Million Dollar Baby, Crash and Letters from Iwo Jima. Nevertheless they pulled it off well and did a good job in injecting some realism into the usually over the top franchise. But I think at certain points they went a bit too fast. While quick editing is the order of the day, at certain points I expected them to allow the viewers some time to actually grab and appreciate the well executed shots.

Finally, I prefer this more realistic and no nonsense portrayal of Bond as opposed to popular sentiments. I have seen all the previous ones, not because I wanted to but because they were aired by a TV channel at a stretch a couple of years ago. So I can tell you that Craig is the second best Bond of all time after Sean Connery. In fact Brosnan always looked like a metrosexual womanizer socialite rather than a spy. As far as the assassination of stereotypes is concerned, I think it had to move on with time. Imagine a secret spy introducing himself to his enemies with his real name every time he meets them!

So do I have any regrets in the end? Yes! I wish it had some sex scenes! This new Bond seems like a misogynist most of the time! Or are we moving towards a gay Bond with changing times? Poor Olga doesn’t really get to scorch the screen as one would expect. The other Bond girl (?) makes merely a guest appearance.

Anyway…watch it for the action…..7/10