Re-Watch: Quantum of Solace (2008)

Quantum of Solace
Director: Marc Forster
Writer: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis
Based on: Ian Fleming‘s James Bond novels
Sequel to: Casino Royale
Cast: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Gemma Arterton, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini, Jesper Christensen, David Harbour, Rory Kinnear, [and for about 5 seconds Stana Katic]
[Here’s my first review.]

Set directly after the events in Casino Royale, James Bond (Daniel Craig) is out for revenge and to understand exactly what happened with Vesper. To that end he kidnaps Mr White (Jesper Christensen) and he and M (Judi Dench) interrogate him. But before White can reveal much more than that he is working for a mysterious organisation, things go south. In the end Bond is left only with one lead that brings him to seemingly squeaky-clean environmentalist Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric). But things are far from being clean.

Watching Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace back to back just makes one thing even clearer: Quantum of Solace really and definitely and fully sucks.


The movie just has way too much action and way too little plot or characters. I’m not a huge fan of chase scenes in general, but what Marc Forster does here is frankly ridiculous. Within the first 70 minutes of Quantum of Solace he has a chase scene each on foot, by car, boat and plane. And that kind of overdoing it, without regard to whether it fits the film or the story at that moment is quite symptomatic for this film.

And it still irks me beyond belief how they treat Camille (Olga Kurylenko). Right after her big moment of revenge they take away all her competence and agency and reduce her to a child who needs saving from Bond. That is especially grating because up until then Bond completely respected her, her strength and her mission. And then they take it away just like that, going so far as having Camille ask for Bond’s advice on how to live her life. Because he is in so much fucking control of his own?!

I’m also not sold on Amalric as the bad guy. I just thought that he had way too little charisma for the role, especially when compared to Mads Mikkelsen. And I hated how they threw away Gemma Arterton. Who is amazing when you let her do something apart from being a victim.

At least Judi Dench was still great. And I still like Daniel Craig as Bond (even if he doesn’t undress enough in this film). And at least the plot managed to connect well to that of Casino Royale, even if it did leave quite a mess of things. In any case, Quantum of Solace isn’t entirely bad. But it just isn’t great.

Summarising: disappointing, even the second time around – I didn’t remember it being that sucky.


  1. Yeah, they all but admitted they screwed the pooch on this one, especially with Skyfall out now. One thing I didn’t like was how poorly they articulated the agenda of the bad guys. We’re into destabilizing governments that want change, but its about oil, but its about water, and the intelligence services are doing business with them because they have to! It all felt frenetic and rushed, mainly because it was. They were in such a hurry to make a sequel they didn’t think to slow down and plot it out more carefully.

  2. While I actually enjoyed “Casino Royale” – mostly because it features whats arguably the best story of all bond-movies – even back than I felt that it was a huge misstep. When casting Daniel Craig and rebooting the franchise, they pretty much took everything away that made Bond Bond – and distinguished him (or the franchise) from all the other secret agents on the silver screen. Which in my book was a huge mistake. When you get more competition, you emphasize your brand and your strenghts, and not try to copy what they are doing, IMHO. With “Quantum of Solace”, this “bournification” was finally complete. The movie wasn’t helped by the writers strike and a hurried schedule, as well as the terribly shooting style of Marc Foster. One complaint I don’t share with you, though, is the scene with Camille near the end. They set it up before that she’s absolutely terrified of fire. She didn’t react to getting her revenge, but to the place burning down. But yeah, definitely one of the worst Bond movies.

    • It’s not that Camille being afraid of fire was not established or could not be explained by her personal history that I objected to. For me the problem was this: Camille is a strong woman on a mission and she’s even allowed to carry it out, even with a lot of help from Bond. But then it’s like the movie realized that it had given a woman power to see things through – and they had to take that power away from her immediately, by making her childlike and vulnerable and a paralyzed wreck. And that just sucks.

      • While I can understand the sentiment, given that she fulfilled her wish for revenge, that kept her going pretty much her entire life, compared with the fire which she’s cared like hell of, I didn’t see her as “weak” in those scenes, but could totally relate to her. I think I would have found it more “insulting” if she would have simply walked away. That may work in a picture with a lighter mood, but would have been misplaced in this one. IMHO, of course.

        • I think we’re arguing on two different levels. For the in-movie-continuity, I think your interpretation is more than valid, though I don’t agree that it wasn’t weakness she was showing. She was weak, but also, it’s ok to be weak sometimes.

          But I’m arguing from a more movies-in-general pov, and in general we just get way too many women reduced to a childlike state of “please save me, strong man!” So when you get a character who seems at first to be competent and self-reliant and in no need of saving whatsoever, having her revert to the former state, even if it’s warranted in character, is just infuriating.

          • While I can understand your sentiment, in this case I can’t agree with it. She was traumatized as a child, and because of that, I didn’t get the impression that she was weak in that scene at all. Add to that the fact that she just pretty much reached the goal of her entire life, and I found it very relatable.

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