The Bond Who Could Not Sleep in Marc Forster’s Quantum of Solace (2008) November 11, 2008Posted by Richard Bolisay in Hollywood, Literature.
Directed by Marc Forster
Cast: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench
Based on Ian Fleming’s Bond series
That Bond is a better creation than Batman is highly disputable – – the farfetchedness of the idea is peppered with so much bias that my fan can actually lose all his nails in his head in trying to overthrow me in a discussion – – because it just crossed my mind, what makes a hero a hero? Or what makes a hero not a hero? And more importantly, what makes someone who is not a hero a hero? Is it bravery? The intention that, more often than not, misleads? The enemy that keeps the fire of heroic zeal burning? Or is it affirmation? A selfish act of proving one’s worth, that he is capable of saving the world, or even a small fraction of it, from the thirst of evil omnipotence? So is heroism, more than a fulfillment of one’s duty that he has firmly established and assumed on himself, a random undertaking given to the individual who gains the utmost confidence in the perfect moment of making a life-changing decision? The operative word is random – – not every one is eligible but every one gets a chance – – even our overseas workers have the privilege of being called a hero by slavering to other races. The concept of hero has been radically reduced into a mere dogtag in the last few years, that sometimes being called one becomes an insult, downplaying one’s actions into boxed social pretentiousness perpetuated by the government. As we can fairly argue, most heroes are far from perfect – – an attestation to their being human, to their foreworn weakness – – and that’s where they get their connection to us, poor, defenseless, insatiable degenerates, even if we don’t recognize ourselves as such.
Bond is no hero; in fact he is the antithesis of being a hero. He cares only for his mission, he kills, he sleeps with women entangled in his web, he mistakes murder for professional duty. Daniel Craig has butchered the Bond character to some people – – he is so rough he needs loads of lubricant to regain his suave – – but to me he has proven otherwise: his smoking cold features, in most cases damaged, add to the ravishing nonchalance of his character; Craig’s built anticipates hard-hitting action, like a god of astonishing virility; and his dour, irredeemable loss of humor builds a thriving solitude reminiscent to a lone samurai in the woods. The effortless geographical travel masks the thinness of its story, giving more time on the deliberate staging of in-your-face action, violence in unfathomable motion. Villains and heroes get mixed up, pure intentions never exist, fear becomes irrelevant, and safety becomes an illusion. Forster relies heavily on parallelism to build up the action, like when Bond chases Mitchell along with the Palio di Siena in Italy, or when he interferes Greene’s conversations with his partners while watching an opera, providing an intense chill of the bloody combat. The seriousness suffocates at some point that some dialogues, no matter how well delivered, do not seem to come through – – Is that how you treat your friends? – – and that final conversation with M fails to push hard enough for us to anticipate the next installment. The difficulty in following the narrative is compensated by the fact that there will be another salvo in the next sequence – – and that’s a good payoff. Only Bond, whether blinded by inconsolable rage or motivated by duty, is not too happy to show his skills off – – because when cinema attempts to borrow the rigidity of human experience, there is no other food to eat but boredom.