Page last updated at 13:18 GMT, Monday, 20 October 2008 14:18 UK

Press views: Quantum of Solace

Daniel Craig as James Bond
Daniel Craig's performance is widely praised

The 22nd James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, has had a warm reception from critics.

BBC News entertainment correspondent Lizo Mzimba called it a "badder, better but not bigger" Bond outing. But what did other reviewers think? Here is a selection of their opinions.


One wonders if director Marc Forster and screenwriters Paul Haggis and Neal Purvis haven't tried a little too hard to distance the film from traditional Bond plots. The expository dialogue scenes can be dull, and cram in so many machinations and double-crossings that it's easy to lose track of who's duping whom.

And yet, several times - just when you're tempted to consult your watch - the movie suddenly surprises.

See it for Craig's fully-formed Bond: angry, icily unsentimental, and fleetingly borderline psychotic at the close.


There is something desperate about Bond. Craig plays him with a gimlet-eyed intensity that makes his first turn in the role in Casino Royale seem lightweight. David Arnold's rousing score seems to be driving him on.

The drawback to the frenetic approach is that the chases risk merging into one another. Comic relief is in short supply. We don't have any boffins introducing new gadgets.

Among the main pleasures of an uneven Bond movie is Dame Judi Dench's wonderful performance. She is more in evidence here than in her previous Bond movies and has a relationship with 007 that is maternal and flirtatious.


The movie ladles out the adrenalin in a string of deafening episodes: car chases, plane wrecks, motor boat collisions. If it's got an engine, and runs on fuel, and can crash into another similarly powered vehicle, with Bond at the wheel, and preferably with a delicious female companion in the passenger seat - well, it goes in the movie.

I was disappointed there was so little dialogue, flirtation and characterisation in this Bond: Forster and his writers Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade clearly thought this sort of sissy nonsense has to be cut out in favour of explosions.

But set against this is the cool, cruel presence of Craig - his lips perpetually semi-pursed, as if savouring some new nastiness his opponents intend to dish out to him, and the nastiness he intends to dish out in return.

More appropriate titles might have been A View To A Killing Spree or Triggerfinger.

The Sneak would like to give you a figure on the body count - but it was impossible to keep score.

The film kicks off with Bond in the car chase of his life as his Aston Martin DB9 is pursued through the narrow cliff-top lanes of the Italian Lakes.

A Bourne Ultimatum-style rooftop chase follows, with the famous Palio Horse Race as a stunning backdrop. The stunts look dangerous for good reason - they are.


Quantum of Solace is a leaner, meaner animal, rammed with shoot-outs, a boat chase and even an aerial dogfight. And our hero is an angry, embittered man out for blood.

Mostly it doesn't feel like a Bond film at all. Not once does Craig say: "The name's Bond. James Bond." There's no Q or his gadgets. Heck, we even see Bond in a cardigan.

Craig puts in another powerhouse performance. Gemma Arterton (who plays Fields) and Olga Kurylenko (troubled moll Camille) are also impressive.


The director, Marc Forster, has absorbed the lucrative lessons discovered in Martin Campbell's Casino Royale.

He has also managed to pace his sequel much better. Royale felt slightly wheel-clamped by one too many longeurs.

If anything, the crunching chase sequences in Quantum of Solace are even more magnificently dangerous. And the daredevil leaps and tumbles through glass roofs are just as sensational as the splintering high-speed pyrotechnics.


It's entirely admirable that Quantum of Solace is the shortest Bond movie to date - it drops a great many of the long-running series mannerisms (callous quips, expository lectures, travelogue padding, Q and Moneypenny) as it globe-trots urgently from Italy to Haiti to Austria to Italy again to Bolivia to Russia with stopovers in London and other interzones.

The major gadget on offer is a neat trick with a mobile phone, which the film trusts us to follow without a pompous lecture on how it works.

If it doesn't even try to be bigger than Casino Royale, that's perhaps a smart move in that there's still a sense at the end that Bond's mission has barely begun.


Craig has grown into the role but Forster struggles to deliver on the promise to get into his head and demystify him more.

He's the same as he was in Casino Royale - brash, brutal, dirty, nasty. Craig clearly enjoys the bit where, icy blue eyes glinting, he bludgeons a baddie and calmly holds his pulse, waiting for him to definitely die. Brr.

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