SOMETHINGels Bonded labour

The new film is great – but it’s not es­capism

Finweek English Edition - - Call Centres - WITH ALL THAT’S HAP­PENED

in the mar­kets, in the econ­omy and with the rand – and what’s about to hap­pen ( What? You think this is over?) – some adult en­ter­tain­ment may be in or­der. And luck­ily for Bond fans the word adult once again ap­plies. Casino Royale, the first star­ring the blonde and blue-eyed Daniel Craig, res­ur­rected a fran­chise – the most suc­cess­ful of all time at 11bn inflation-ad­justed US dol­lars, out­earn­ing even Star Wars – that de­clined into camp and silli­ness un­der Roger Moore and par­tic­u­larly Pierce Bros­nan.

The 22nd Bond flick out now The Quan­tum of So­lace – as all good Bond ti­tles, this one isn’t re­ally sup­posed to make sense – con­tin­ues the story from Casino Royale, which ended with Bond “blinded by in­con­solable rage” in the words of M, his MI6 han­dler, over the death and be­trayal of his lady love, Ves­per. All the nec­es­sary el­e­ments that make a great Bond movie are here and Craig him­self is again ex­cel­lent.

And the best (well, al­most) of the things we ex­pect in a Bond film: lo­ca­tions, lo­ca­tions, lo­ca­tions. The Quan­tum of So­lace pro­duc­tion was filmed in more over­seas lo­ca­tions than any other movie in the 46-year-run­ning Bond fran­chise, in­clud­ing Panama, the Ata­cama Desert (Chile), Si­enna, Car­rara, Lake Garda and Fon­te­b­landa (Italy), Bre­genz (Aus­tria) and San Felipe (Mex­ico). If noth­ing else, go and see it for the arm­chair travel it pro­vides, par­tic­u­larly if an over­seas hol­i­day is off the cards this year, as I sus­pect it is for many with money in houses or stocks.

The open­ing se­quence is suitably Bon­desque, but I ven­ture the slinky sil­hou­ettes of Oc­to­pussy’s will never be bet­tered. The ti­tle song – a rocker called An­other Way to Die by the White Stripes’ front man – is suited to the grit­tier, more vi­o­lent and dead­lier Bond that Casino Royale in­tro­duced. It’s no For Your Eyes Only, but then we’re not in 1981 any­more. If only. In 1981 the gold price, in cur­rent US dol­lars, was at all-time highs, car sales were boom­ing and in­ter­est rates be­low inflation.

If there’s one dis­ap­point­ment it’s Bond’s body count in Quan­tum of So­lace. Craig has in­verted the ra­tios of the Moore and Con­nery in­stal­ments. For ev­ery vil­lain killed, they bed­ded about five lovelies. The new Bond is a fighter, not a lover. Moore, now 81, lamented the fact him­self last week at the pub­li­ca­tion of his mem­oirs. At least the pro­duc­ers out­did them­selves again with their choice of Bond Girl. I hope to see much more of the elfin Olga Kurylenko in the fu­ture.

The vil­lain of Quan­tum of So­lace has no phys­i­cal ab­nor­mal­i­ties, such as eyes weep­ing blood or a way out name like Le Chiffre or Fran­cisco Scara­manga, but all the bet­ter for it. Do­minic Greene is the snake-eyed rain­maker for a multi­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion in­tent on over­throw­ing tin pot regimes in Latin Amer­ica and reap­ing the spoils. Greene has the sup­port of the CIA and the Bri­tish au­thor­i­ties and Bond is up against all of them. Yes, Quan­tum of So­lace is that cyn­i­cal a film and, as with the lat­est Bat­man no­body is truly righ­teous and good doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily tri­umph. ¤

FRIK ELS frike@fin­

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