James Bond: Quantum of Solace
A special exclusive review of the new Bond film from our fearless UK correspondent, Ed.
Having been described as ‘Bond meets Bourne’ and ‘not your usual Bond film,’ I was expecting something different from Quantum of Solace, the 22nd episode in the Bond series, and the second for actor Daniel Craig in the title role. Unfortunately, when the credits rolled, I was left with more questions than answers, and a little less love for the world’s favourite spy.
A direct sequel, Quantum of Solace picks up where Casino Royale left off, with Bond chasing those responsible for the death of love interest Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) while uncovering a confusing and improbable plot which has something to do with a shadowy crime organisation, a Bolivian dictator, the CIA and an environmentalist. Seemingly bent on vengeance, though denying it at every turn, Bond employs a “shoot first” policy and leaves a raft of bodies in his wake, while offering 007 fans little to enjoy. Gone are the gadgets provided by Q branch – this Bond needs only his gun, a knife and a mobile phone to assist him in his self-imposed mission of revenge. Gone too are the host of girls and snappy one-liners - the attractive Strawberry Fields (Gemma Arterton) is treated as no more than a comfort stop by both Bond and the writers; while James makes only two jokes in the film, neither of which is particularly funny.
Instead, this Bond is a dark, chilling, immoral, almost mindless killer, whose main answer to the complexities of life appears to be shoot, stab, beat and drink until you feel just a little bit better. And Quantum of Solace does raise some complex issues. The question of vengeance is front and centre for both Bond and ally Camille (Olga Kurylenko), whose parents were murdered in front of her when she was just a girl. The idea of trust and friendship is often discussed, and current global concerns such as environmentalism, the oil crisis, drought and US foreign policy all get a mention. The problem is that nothing is answered, at least not satisfactorily, and by the end of the film I knew nothing new about the state of Bond’s mind, and even less about the mysterious Quantum organisation than I did at the start.
Christians will be the first to admit that we live in a broken and often confusing world. The writers of the Bible asked often about how to deal with injustice, about why sinners so often prosper, and about how to react when we have been personally wronged. In Quantum of Solace, Bond offers his solution – seek revenge at all costs, even though he says himself “I don’t think the dead care about vengeance.” The Bible, however, reveals a different view. The man who sins against me is also guilty of sinning against God. My job is to forgive, as God has forgiven me. God may take vengeance if he wishes; for it is written “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the LORD” (Romans 12:19). Despite his good looks, occasional moments of compassion, and his impossibly accurate use of a mobile phone camera, Bond is no hero to follow in this regard. Those who are seeking solace will never find it with a gun; instead, put your trust in the Lord, and he will give you peace (Philippians 4:7).