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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » November 19, 2008
The world of movies
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Quantum of Solace
November 19, 2008 By Witold Żygulski   
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Expectations were high after the excellent Casino Royale added a whole new dimension to James Bond, mainly thanks to Daniel Craig (The Road to Perdition, Sylvia, Munich) having given the legendary British agent's image a complete makeover. The suave skirt chaser of old, who could extricate himself from any exigency without suffering so much as a crease to his impeccably tailored suit, and who could leave MacGyver standing still when it came to technical whizzbangery, suddenly resigned in favor of a flesh and blood human being who actually got done over occasionally and could experience emotions like hesitation and, gulp, er, um, love. This time round, the script held Craig back from keeping up the good work. More's the pity. This latest Bond flick comes across as a pastiche of outtakes from the Bourne trilogy.

Directed by Marc Forster (Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland), Quantum of Solace is the first sequel in the entire 22 films 007 canon. The action picks up where Casino Royale left off, with Craig intoning the cult mantra "The name is Bond. James Bond," as he stands over the hapless Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) whom he had just shot in the knee. White is an agent of Quantum, an organization which has left Bond bereft of both his beloved Vesper Lynd and a cool $150 million. White is briefly interrogated about Quantum, whose tentacles, it transpires, reach the British prime minister's office through a close advisor, and even the head of British counterintelligence or "M" (Judi Dench-Shakespeare in Love, Notes on a Scandal), through a longtime personal bodyguard.

Tracking down the shadowy Quantum takes Bond to Siena, Haiti, Bregenz, and South America while leading up to the climactic final battle in an exclusive hotel in the middle of a desert in Bolivia. Businessman Dominic Greene (Matthieu Amalric-The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Munich), a leading member of Quantum posing as an environmentalist, is the number one villain. Greene wants to install a puppet dictator in Bolivia so he can take over the country's water supplies.

Bond is suspended from duty while embarking on his crusade and comes close to being branded an enemy by his own people. This leads him to seek out some strange bedfellows. Enter new Bond girl. Camille (Olga Kurylenko-Hitman, Max Payne) is a Bolivian with a few scores to settle with the wannabe puppet dictator. There's also Bond's old buddy Rene Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini-Hannibal, Man on Fire), wrongly suspected of treason in Casino Royale and even tortured by MI6. Curiously, he bears no resentment and willingly forsakes his cozy little Italian villa and a lover half his age to rough it with Bond in the wilds of South America.

As if the odds weren't long enough, Bond learns that the "cousins," as MI6 is wont to refer to its CIA counterparts, are on the other side of the barricade. A coup in Bolivia will suit Uncle Sam just fine so long as the oil keeps flowing in the right direction. Agent Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright-The Invasion, Syriana), the pedestrian poker player from Casino Royale, stands alone in being able to tell right from wrong.
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