19 November 2008

At the movies: Quantum of Solace.

The latest James Bond film has three aces up its sleeve: Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, and Daniel Craig. That’s not to diminish the achievements of the director (Marc Forster, an inspired choice considering his body of work) or any other contributing artists, but it’s those three that make Quantum of Solace into such a satisfying experience. Dench, as MI6 head honcho M, continues to bring class and diamond-like resolve to everything she touches (let’s not forget, she even made The Chronicles of Riddick into something unique). Wright, continuing a moral throughline from his turn as Colin Powell in Oliver Stone’s fascinating W., pops up as America’s moral compass and steals all of his scenes. And Daniel Craig, as the blond, blunt force weapon of choice for a world in crisis, is an unrelenting badass with a heart as cold as his steely blue eyes. Though I had hoped for a bit more of Forster’s more artsier flourishes (see his tragically underseen Stay for an example of what I was hoping for), the only irredeemable aspect of the new Bond film is its utterly dire theme song, for which both Jack White and Alicia Keys should be ashamed. There’s so much intrigue and melancholy regret at play here, one can almost shirk off the burdens of enduring a blockbuster action film (and the entire first forty-five minutes is almost all action setpieces). Fatalism and fireballs, in equal amounts; though I would recommend rewatching (or at least familiarizing yourself with) Casino Royale beforehand.

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