Released in 2008, Daniel Craig returns as James Bond for the second time, in the 22nd official film outing for the character created by Sir Ian Fleming.
This film picks up straight after the events that ended “Casino Royale” (2006), with Bond capturing Mr White and returning him to M for interrogation about a mysterious organisation called Quantum. One of M’s bodyguards is a double agent and attacks M, allowing White to escape, but Bond deals with the bodyguard. Bond and M discover that he had a contact in Haiti, Edmund Slate who is a hitman that is hunting Camille Montes, on the orders of entrepreneur Dominic Greene. Camille in turn is hunting General Medrano for killing her family. Greene is assisting the General to overthrow the government, in exchange for expanse of barren space in the desert, so having Camille interfering would be bad for business. Bond rescues Camille from General Medrano and follows Greene to Austria where he plans to do a deal with members of Quantum. Bond infiltrates the meeting, which is taking place at an open-air Opera, but he is attacked. Bond kills one of his attackers, throwing him off a roof. This doesn’t go down well as the CIA have signed an none-interference deal for stock in Bolivian oil, and also because the victim was a Special Branch body guard working for Quantum member Guy Haines, who is an advisor to the British Prime Minister. M has no choice but to revoke Bond’s passport and credit cards. Bond goes to meet Rene Mathis in Italy for help, and this eventually takes him Bolivia. Bond is intercepted by an agent call Strawberry Fields who insists that Bond return to London to debrief, but he seduces her instead and decides to stay in Bolivia. At a party Bond once again rescues Camille from Green/ Medrano. On leaving the party to look at some plans for the Tierra project that Camille has, they are stopped by local police that have been paid off by Greene/Medrano, who find Mathis in the boot of the car beaten and bloody. Mathis is duly executed, and with his dying words he tells Bond to forgive him and Vesper (see “Casino Royale” (2006)) for everything that happened previously. Bond and Camille decide to check out the land that Quantum want in the desert but are shot down and end up in a massive sink hole in the desert. Here they discover the evil plot; the fresh water supply is being kept away from the populous to monopolise it. Returning to La Paz, Bond meets M who informs him that Strawberry Fields was found dead, drown in crude oil. Bond also meets CIA agent Felix Leiter who is supposed to be capturing Bond, but instead secretly tips him off about Greene and Medrano’s meeting in the Atacama Desert. Bond and Camille head to an eco-hotel in the Atacama Desert where they seek vengeance against Greene/Medrano. Bond takes the opportunity to kill the chief of police who had Mathis executed while Camille goes after General Medrano for killing her family. Bond captures Greene, interrogates him, and then dumps him in the middle of the desert with only a can of crude oil for liquid. With the new information about Quantum, Bond travels to Russia to find Vesper Lynd’s former lover, Kabira, a member of Quantum himself, who seduces women with valuable connections. Bond tells the latest target, a Canadian Intelligence agent about Kabira’s intentions, sparing her from the same fate as Vesper, and then he leaves. MI6 arrest Kabira and when meeting up with M again, she tells Bond that Greene died in the desert having drunk the engine oil.
This Bond film was developed while the previous one (“Casino Royale” (2006)) was still being made, which makes sense as it carries across a lot of the hidden plot from the first film. Michael G Wilson, Daniel Craig and Marc Forster wrote some sections of the film themselves due to a writer’s strike, but ultimately, it is Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade who are credited with the writing on QOS. Marc Forster took his place in the director’s chair to lead the film, with Wilson going back into the producer’s chair alongside Barbara Broccoli. David Arnold once again takes up the credit of music, which makes it his fifth outing in that department on a Bond film. With a budget believed to be somewhere in the region of $225 million, this film did well and grossed nearly $600 million at the global box office. The runtime here though is the shortest in all of the Bond franchise, topping out at 106 minutes end to end.
After the success of Daniel Craig’s first outing in the rebooted franchise, he was able to come at this film with less of a backlash. He made a conscious decision to get fitter because of the demands of the film would be higher, unlike the more relaxed feel of “Casino Royale” (2006). He delivers another top class and authentic performance. He is gritty and explosive, while being debonair and cool at times. He brings an air of anger and pain into his performance, which was motivated by the characters loss in the previous film. While on the surface he is able to adapt to all the situations he finds himself in, Craig’s eyes are the true gateway to his performance, easily giving away the portrayal that he is aiming for; they are almost glazed and cold when he has to deliver a bullet to a foe, but they are kind and caring when he has to console friends.
Opposite Craig and featuring heavily in the film is Olga Kurlenko as Camille Montes, a Bolivian agent who is hunting General Medrano with a vendetta. Although she is Ukrainian, she carries herself off well as Hispanic, never letting up at any point to deceive her role. She is engaging and tough and does well in every scene she is in.
Mathieu Amalric plays Dominic Greene, the main villain of the piece. He is deceivingly good as the bad guy, but probably will not be remembered that long as he plays the baddie as a relatively normal person. He is not disfigured in any way like previous Bond villains. The beauty in his performance is that he could be an anybody that is corrupt on the inside rather than disfigured on the outside. He comes across a typical entrepreneur or politician, which makes him more of a threat in my eyes, on more real to the world we live in.
Also cast in the movie are Judie Dench who returns as Bond’s boss M. Jeffrey Wright reprises his role as CIA operative and long-time friend of Bond, Felix Leiter. Giancarlo Giannini returns as Rene Mathis. Gemma Arterton also appears as Strawberry Fields, her exit is eminent of Shirley Eaton in “Goldfinger” (1964)
Coming off the back off “Casino Royale” (2006) this film feels like a complete change of pace. It is fast, it is brutal, and it is angry. The film retains a lot of the glitz and glamour you expect to see in a Bond film, especially with its locations and events, but it also feels rawer and dirtier in places too. This feels like a nice touch and embeds the film in some reality, which is a million miles away from previous films like “Moonraker” (1979). It was noted that this film features at least 250 “trivial or severely violent” acts, making it one of the more nastier titles in the franchise, especially when you consider that it’s got the shortest runtime in the franchise universe, and when you realize that “Dr No” had 109 acts of violence in it. I enjoyed the film and enjoyed the direction it went in after the more reserved film that preceded it. As it is based on an original concept by producer Michael G Wilson, I cannot compare it to anything that has come before it in literature form. The main negative from me is that there is a lot packed into the film and sometimes it can be a bit overbearing and confusing. It goes from one place to another in quick succession, things are not really slowed down to explain in detail to its audience, and some of the action is edited in a way that makes it choppy and difficult to watch. Despite that it is nice to watch Bond emotionally disconnected from the world due to his inner turmoil and pain, yet still focussed on doing the right thing for Queen and country, and in fact the entire world.
If you are a fan of Bond films this is a must. If you enjoy action and espionage films this is also a good go-to movie. Be prepared for a fast paced, adrenaline filled, and violent action film and you will surely come away from this with a barrel of enjoyment.
Title Song: Another way to Die – Jack White and Alicia Keys
In terms of Bond films this is a 7 out of 10.
In terms of movies in the long and illustrious history of film I would give this a 6 out of 10.
Bond, James Bond, 007 – Ranking
|1||007: Casino Royale (2006) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: Goldfinger (1964) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: Goldeneye (1995) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|2||007: The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: Quantum of Solace (2008) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: License to Kill (1989) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: A View to a Kill (1985) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: Dr. No (1962) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: The Living Daylights (1987) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: The World is Not Enough (1999) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: From Russia with Love (1963) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|3||007: Thunderball (1965) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: Moonraker (1979) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|4||007: You only live twice (1967) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: Diamonds are Forever (1971) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: For Your Eyes Only (1981) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|–||007: Octopussy (1983) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|007: Die Another Day (2002) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|007 (Unofficial): Never Say Never Again (1983) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|5||007: Live and Let Die (1973) ⭐⭐⭐⭐|