Reviewed by: David Criswell, Ph.D.
ENVIRONMENT—Should Christians be concerned about the environment? Answer
What is man's responsibility to the environment? Answer
Casino Royale (2006) (movie review)
Die Another Day (2002) (movie review)
The World Is Not Enough (1999) (movie review)
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) (movie review)
“Casino Royale,” “Munich,” “The Golden Compass”
“Hitman,” “Max Payne”
“Casino Royale,” “Notes on a Scandal,” “Die Another Day,” “Mrs. Henderson Presents”
Mathieu Amalric, Giancarlo Giannini, Gemma Arterton, Jeffrey Wright, David Harbour, Jesper Christensen, Anatole Taubman, Rory Kinnear, Tim Pigott-Smith, Joaquín Cosio, Fernando Guillén Cuervo, Jesús Ochoa, Glenn Foster, Paul Ritter, Simon Kassianides, Stana Katic, Lucrezia Lante della Rovere, Neil Jackson, Oona Chaplin, Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón, Rachel McDowall, Raffaello Degruttola, Tracy Redington, Laurence Richardson
|Producer:||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Columbia Pictures, Danjaq, Eon Productions, United Artists, Barbara Broccoli, Callum McDougall, Anthony Waye, Michael G. Wilson|
|Distributor:||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
“This is not your mother's James Bond.” Indeed, Bond has often swung like a pendulum from straight drama (“From Russia with Love”) to absurd action (“Die Another Day”); from melodrama (“On Her Majesty's Secret Service”) to high camp (“Octopussy”), from great (“Spy Who Loved Me”) to bad (“License to Kill”). How you feel about the previous five Bonds will probably say a lot about whether or not you will enjoy the latest Bond. In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that I preferred Roger Moore the best. I liked having a Bond with a conscience and a light sense of humor. However, after the absurd “Die Another Day,” Daniel Craig’s Bonds have swung the pendulum back to the other extreme. Some say that Bond is now imitating the Bourne films, and they are right. Ironic that Bond, who was once imitated, is now the imitator. Obviously, fans of Bourne will like this film… fans of the traditional Bond with gadgets and such will be sorely disappointed (there are NO gadgets in this film).
“Quantum of Solace” begins where the last film left off. After the death of his girlfriend, James Bond captured “Mr. White” who was behind her death. The opening scene shows Bond escaping Mr. White's allies and bringing White to interrogation at MI6. Soon, MI6 learns that he is working for a “new” secret organization (presumably the return of SPECTRE, although the film never identifies it). Bond then sets out to unearth the organization, but is torn between his desire for revenge and his duty. He eventually pursues his leads to Bolivia, where the enemy is staging a coup in return for profit. Along the way, Bond leaves a trail of carnage and dead bodies (both foes and allies alike) which might make even the most die hard Bond fan cringe.
Cinematically, Bond is not only following the Bourne films in terms of plot and style, but in its directing, as well. “Quantum of Solace” uses the old “shaky camera” technique that is supposed to make the action look more fast paced and realistic, but really just makes it hard to follow and annoying. It is sometimes hard to discern whose foot was chopped with the axe or which car is being smashed. Fortunately, the director does not get carried too far away with this technique. In most other respects, Bond looks like Bond, save that he has no gadgets, drinks no shaken Martinis, there is no Q, no Moneypenny, and never says “Bond, James Bond.”
“Quantum of Solace” attempts to delve into the character and psyche of Bond—a man who is a professional assassin and seems to lose everyone he cares about. Does he become a cold blooded killer, or is he driven by duty? We are never quite sure. Certainly this could be a great subplot and could explore the nature of man much as “Batman Begins” did, but, in the end, we never feel that we have learned anything about Bond, except that he kills and that he pretends not to care about anyone (even though we suspect he does). The film never takes full advantage of this subplot, and it seems almost a cover for the barrage of violence that packs the film.
This leads to the moral question. This is not a film for young children at all. Parents should take the PG-13 rating very seriously. The violence is heavy and includes multiple knifings in the leg, back and shoulder. There is a scene where an axe is flung and stuck in someone's foot (shown in detail), and many other shootings and acts of violence are seen throughout the film. Blood is not withheld from most of these scenes. There is also a scene where a rape is apparently taking place (shown in brief, unclear clips intercut against violence). We hear about rape and torture, and one scene shows a photograph of a horribly mutilated man. There at least a dozen foul words including the s___ word, and there is nudity in the film. Most of that nudity is seen in the title sequence, which Bond fans are doubtless familiar with, but the outlines of women are much more clear, and Bond does have sex with several women, although the sex is off-screen. Another scene shows a nude woman laying on the bed after being murdered and covered in oil. Why oil? Well, that too is a departure for Bond, because James Bond, ironically, has finally become a political animal.
It is no small irony that in the past 40 years Bond avoided being too political. Even when they were fighting Communists, it was always rouge Communists and never the official Soviet Union (remember everybody's favorite Premier in the Bond films?). Now, Bond is political, and that politics involves America and the CIA actively assisting terrorists and Marxist dictators in exchange for oil, allegedly because “we are running out of oil” in the world. We then see some corporate conspiracy thrown in, as well. We hear Bond's allies telling us that “it is harder and harder to distinguish between right and wrong,” and others bluntly say that there is no right and wrong. This might even be considered the eco-Bond film.
Now, fans of Bourne or serio-violent action-dramas will doubtless love “Quantum of Solace.” It is certainly well constructed from a technical standpoint, but it seems to have departed too much from the traditional Bond and is starting to venture into politics. It is no small irony that in an age of terrorism, Bond is depicting America as assisting terrorism.
Daniel Craig is certainly leaving his mark as the most melodramatic of all the Bonds. Whether that is good or bad, I leave to the viewer to decide.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.