(© 2008 Danjaq LLC, United Artists Corporation and Columbia Pictures Industries)
Well I have to say it was one of the more memorable Bond films and on it's own merits it stands up well.
As you probably know the film has had mixed reviews, this is mainly because after nearly fifty years, audiences and critics expect a certain formula with Bond. Quantum of Solace, like Casino Royale before it, breaks some of the established rules. For one thing there is no gun barrel sequence at the very beginning, that happens at the very end. There are very few witticisms (and the one I caught, where Bond replies to Mathis's comment about Agent Fields, was utterly predictable and weak. Not only that, but what has annoyed some Bond fans, although I am not among them, is the lack of any sexual shenanigans between Bond and the ladies in the film. Even the main Bond girl only shares a brief snog with 007 when they part near the end of the film, and that looked like an afterthought.
But why should Bond films stick rigidly to set rules? And if you see this as a sequel to Casino Royale, then you will see how well this film works! You see how Le Chiffre was a relatively small cog in the wheel of the terrorist organisation , Quantum (Clearly a successor to SPECTRE). You see how it has so many fingers everywhere that even the CIA and MI6 have been penetrated and how the British Government seem not to care so much about whether Dominic Greene is a villain or not, as to whether he is of use and whether he is helpful to their interests. Clearly, esp in the scenes with the CIA Station Chief for South America, this is meant to be a critique of the outgoing Bush administration and those in thrall of it. Whether that is totally fair might be another matter, although it has to be borne in mind that this is set in 2006 as it continues direct from Casino Royale.
As for the characters. Well Greene is a villain who reminds me for some reason of Maximillian Largo in the hybrid Bond movie Never Say Never Again. The jokey playboy who plays about being a compassionate philanthropist, but who deep down is a vicious psychopath interested only in his own agenda. That said, how Bond eventually deals with him is more nasty than any other fate that has befallen previous Bond villains and not one that I would wish on my worst enemy.
The Bond girl, Camille Montes, follows the tradition of previous Bond girls by being gutsy and with an agenda of her own. In this case using Greene to get to the killer of her family. As I more or less stated earlier, her relationship with Bond is unusual for a Bond girl in that it is mainly platonic. But it is she who points out to 007 that he has not settled in his mind the issues caused by Vesper's betrayal and death.
Which leads me to Vesper's boyfriend. I suspected at the beginning of the film, but was not fully aware of how willing he was involved in Quantum. That said when Bond catches up with him at the end, it was not a surprise that he was involved all along and that he seduced Vesper and faked his kidnapping as a sick way of using her as a mole. The fact that Bond captures him and then turns him over to his superiors, shows remarkable restraint. Many in his place would perhaps have not been able to control their emotions!
And Rene Mathis! Good that he and Bond managed to get some form of closure over their breach in Casino Royale (and I loved the dialogue in Italian between Mathis and his girlfriend), and was saddened that he ended up killed, although perhaps that was inevitable.
All in all, 8/10, although if I have any more complaints it is why we have yet to see Q and Moneypenny. Will they be back?