With the film set to go on general release in the UK in just eleven days’ time, the brand new James Bond adventure, Quantum Of Solace, has been screened for the first time to critics (not us, don’t worry), and they couldn’t get to their word processors quick enough to fill us in on what the film’s like.
And the early word? That the good work of Casino Royale continues.
Over at the BBC, Lizo Mzimba notes that “what this film does differently is to focus closely on an emotionally battered Bond, his mission and his motivation”, arguing that while it’s occasionally uncertain, it makes the right call by focusing more on “Bond’s emotional journey” rather than “villainy”.
The review suggests that “The raw nature of the film may put off some who yearn for the days of gizmos, gadgets and Bond quips as he dispenses with faceless opponents”, but concludes by saying that when the credits promise a further Bond adventure, “the sense of anticipation … should be particularly high”.
In The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw preferred its predecessor, Casino Royale, but still had praise for the new film. In particular, Bradshaw was taken by Daniel Craig in the title role, arguing that “He’s made the part his own, every inch the coolly ruthless agent-cum-killer, nursing a broken heart and coldly suppressed rage”.
He cited the reverential nods to earlier Bond adventures, and expressed his disappointment that “there was so little dialogue, flirtation and characterisation in this Bond”, wondering if the writers “thought this sort of sissy nonsense has to be cut out in favour of explosions”. However, in awarding it three out of five stars, he returns to its leading man. “The man himself powers this movie; he carries the film: it’s an indefinably difficult task for an actor. Craig measures up.”
James Christopher in The Times liked it more, awarding the film four out of five. Christopher particularly likes the fact that, for the first time, this picks up immediately after its precessor, and “Quantum of Solace looks a far stronger picture for this rare continuity” in his view. He, too, is a fan of the current incumbent of the famous tuxedo. “I doubt that there’s a better actor at bottling rage than Daniel Craig”, he says, declaring that “he has defined himself as a darker and more bare-knuckle Bond than any of his elegant predecessors”.
Praise, too, for director Marc Forster, who has “absorbed the lucrative lessons discovered in Martin Campbell’s Casino Royale”, and “has also managed to pace his sequel much better”.
Mark Monahan in The Telegraph joins the chorus of approval. He loves the fact that the film comes out of the traps at speed, stating that “for half an hour or so after the pre-credits ‘teaser’, the film barely lets up”, before “the pacing becomes more fractured”. And while this leads to some lesser moments, Monahan then notes that “several times – just when you’re tempted to consult your watch – the movie suddenly surprises”. He says that Quantum of Solace “lacks Casino Royale’s narrative drive”, but has parts that are “terrific”. “See it for them”, he urges, “and see it for Craig’s fully-formed Bond: angry, icily unsentimental, and fleetingly borderline psychotic at the close”.
The BBC review is here.