"A More Personal Bond"
QUANTUM OF SOLACE, the newest James Bond movie, is a high octane thriller, but it’s not your typical Bond flick. In fact, it’s hard to discern the outlines of the character that moviegoers have come to love over the past 45 years.
The movie picks up one hour after the last movie, CASINO ROYALE. It opens with a frenetic chase scene with Bond fleeing from some bad guys with machine guns. After escaping, Bond opens the trunk and pulls out Mr. White, the mastermind behind the plot in CASINO ROYALE.
During the interrogation of White by Bond and his boss, M, however, M’s bodyguard tries to kill her and Mr. White escapes. White’s trail leads to Haiti, where he encounters a Bolivian general and a man named Dominic Greene, who seems to be allied with White’s sinister organization.
Bond gets help from a beautiful girl named Camille who has a grudge against the General and has been using Greene to get to him. Greene, however, has plans of his own that involve both the General and the CIA. Soon, Bond becomes persona non grata with the CIA. That, and his penchant for killing off the leads in the case, sows seeds of doubt about Bond’s loyalty in Britain, even in M’s mind. Has Bond gone over to the other side, as her personal bodyguard did?
The action scenes in QUANTUM OF SOLACE are shot terribly, in a chopped up way that makes it hard to tell what’s happening and that calls attention to the fact that you’re watching a movie. The movie recovers from this mistake in the second half as the plot and characters unfold. In fact, it is the characters and the performances that lift the movie out of the mire. In the end, however, the story doesn’t reveal much about the mysterious organization behind Mr. White and Mr. Greene. Apparently, that’s left up to the next movie.
Consequently, QUANTUM OF SOLACE ends up being a more personal story than usual. Here, Bond and his boss are trying to deal with his desire for revenge against the crime syndicate, which blackmailed his dead lover Vesper into betraying him. Eventually, Bond’s lust for revenge dissipates as he discovers that revenge is not the answer. He seems to realize, however, that love for a woman, namely the late lamented Vesper, is not the answer either, especially for someone in his line of work.
Politically, the news is mixed. The villain, Mr. Greene, poses as an environmentalist, but his goal is to help his mystery organization blackmail and extort its way to powerful economic positions around the world. Here, the movie suggests that it is easy to co-opt the environmental movement for corrupt, nefarious purposes. On the other hand, the movie shows that the American CIA is willing to sacrifice principle for American self-interest. Only swift action by Bond’s CIA buddy, Felix Leiter, helps save the day. The meaning of this is a little murky, but perhaps the movie is saying that loyalty toward friends and country must be combined with great personal integrity, or it can lead to corruption. Either way, it’s a far cry from the strong anti-Communism of the early Bond novels by Ian Fleming.
Please see the CONTENT section above for other potential content problems that may affect your decision about whether to see this movie.
(B, H, AP, C, LL, VV, S, N, A, D, M) Light moral worldview with some humanist elements, plus a cynical view toward the CIA and American foreign policy which turns to the positive as the characters seem to realize that loyalty toward friends and country must be combined with personal integrity, or it can lead to corruption, and woman mentions Christmas presents she gave an aide who betrayed her loyalty, which shows how evil that betrayal was; 17 obscenities (no “f” words) and one strong profanity; plenty of action violence includes car chase, vehicles crash, man threatened, extensive chase on foot, two men dangle on scaffold that’s moving around a lot, men fight, boat chase, explosions, gunfights, plane chase, machine gun fire, villain tries to rape woman but other woman comes to kill him and ends up fighting with him, corrupt Bolivian police fire at hero, body dumped; implied fornication before man is seen kissing woman’s bare back, implied attempted rape as woman fights back and brief talk about a woman sleeping with a man to get close to another man in order to kill him because he raped and murdered her mother and sister; upper male nudity and some female cleavage; alcohol use; smoking; and, lying, extortion, hero framed for murder, and rebellion against authority.
QUANTUM OF SOLACE, the newest James Bond movie, picks up one hour after the last movie, CASINO ROYALE. Bond and his boss, M, are still after the mysterious crime organization that blackmailed Bond’s dead lover to betray him. The trail leads to Haiti, where Bond encounters a Bolivian general and Dominic Greene, who seems to be allied with the crime syndicate. Greene is trying to work out some kind of sinister deal with the General and a faction in the CIA, which wants to take back Bolivia from the Marxist government. Greene and his organization have a secret scheme of their own, however, but Bond has to work against the CIA and his boss to uncover it.
QUANTUM OF SOLACE is not your typical Bond flick. The story unfolds in a more personal way than usual, with Bond and his boss trying to deal with his desire for revenge against the organization that blackmailed his dead lover into betraying him. Bond eventually forgoes revenge, but not without personal cost. The moral resolution to the plot’s ethical dilemmas balances out the movie’s strong action violence, occasional obscenities and brief, subdued, sexual references.