SOMETHINGels Bonded labour
The new film is great – but it’s not escapism
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 email@example.com