Google+ Consumer Psyche: QOS 007

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

QOS 007

This is a crash-bang Bond, high on action, low on quips, long on location glamour, short on product placement.

Under the direction of Marc Forster, 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.

There are plenty of references to other Bond moments. A horribly dangerous skydive recalls The Spy Who Loved Me. A pile-up in Haiti which spills a macabre lorryload of coffins recalls the voodoo creepiness of Live And Let Die. And, most outrageously of all, the grotesque daubing of a female corpse brings back Goldfinger - though Sean Connery got an awful lot more mileage out of that sort of thing.

As in Casino Royale, the famous John Barry theme tune is saved up until the end; a baffling, decision, I always think, not to use this thrilling music at the beginning of the film.

Bond has hardly got his 007 spurs, when he's infuriating M, Judi Dench, with his insolence and insubordination. Out in the field, he's whacking enemy agents in short, sharp, bone-cracking bursts of violence when he should be bringing them in for questioning.

In theory, he is out to nail a sinister international business type: Dominic Greene, played by French star Mathieu Amalric, who under a spurious ecological cover plans to buy up swaths of South American desert and a portfolio of Latin American governments to control the water supply of an entire continent. As Greene, Amalric has the maddest eyes, creepiest leer, and dodgiest teeth imaginable.

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. This film, unlike the last, doesn't show him in his powder-blue swimming trunks (the least heterosexual image in 007 history), but it's a very physical performance. Quantum of Solace isn't as good as Casino Royale: the smart elegance of Craig's Bond debut has been toned down in favour of conventional action.

But the man himself powers this movie; he carries the film: it's an indefinably difficult task for an actor. Craig measures up. For marketing aspects on the movie visit MJ's analysis on the change.

What's he best part of the movie? Bond holding a dying friend. This man has a heart!
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