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Quantum of Solace: Smart Bond

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 20, 2008 at 4:29AM

I confess that I had a great time at Quantum of Solace last night. Sure it's glitzy and glam and jammed with heart-stopping violent action. But it's also arty and elegant and beautiful. One of the main sequences is a lyrical homage to Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much, set during a performance of Tosca.
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I confess that I had a great time at Quantum of Solace last night. Sure it's glitzy and glam and jammed with heart-stopping violent action. But it's also arty and elegant and beautiful. One of the main sequences is a lyrical homage to Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much, set during a performance of Tosca.

It's both a James Bond movie and a Marc Forster movie. It moves the standard Bond-with-gun opener to the end, the Bond song honors are done by Jack White and Alicia Keyes, and the standard Bond crew is gone. The key crew members on this one were all Team Forster, except the composer David Arnold. But even there, the score pulls back on too much use of the classic Bond theme.

There are six Vesper martinis instead of the usual one, which isn't specifically "shaken not stirred." There is no "Bond, James Bond." Will audiences miss this? Or is this just the kind of modernization that the series requires to stay vital?

Craig is as strong and dangerous and fearless and rebellious as ever--and in this case, grieving and vengeful as he chases down the man who killed his beloved Vesper Lynd. (It is unusual for a Bond film to function as a sequel.) In this case, the Bond villain played by The Diving Bell and the Butterfly star Mathieu Amalric is bone-chilling-- without relying on any of the usual tics.

The movie already had a major press launch in London, who love their own Gemma Arterton as a modern Brit Bond Girl. Here's a sampling of early reviews.

Here's the trailer:

[Originally appeared on Variety.com]

This article is related to: Reviews, Genres, Franchises, Directors, Sequel


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.