Quantum of Solace, a dull reality

Elon Quantum Solace

Curator's Note

Quantum of Solace is considered one of the weakest Bond films, and easily the weakest of Daniel Craig’s films. The film is marred by an unfinished script, and terrible, disorienting cinematography. Quantum of Solace is one of the more ignored films of the Bond franchise, as while not a great film, it lacks the redeeming absurdity of the invisible car of Die Another Day or Bond in a Gorilla suit as seen in Octopussy

Despite these flaws, Quantum of Solace does have one factor that seems seldom mentioned. In terms of plot, it is perhaps the most realistic film in the series. The plot revolves around wealthy environmentalist Dominic Greene, who is sponsoring a coup in Bolivia so he can control the nation's oil supply. Bond's classic CIA ally Felix Leiter appears, but this time in a less supportive roll. As Bond closes in on Greene’s tail, Leiter warns him not to interfere. The CIA has struck a deal with Greene: Allow the coup to proceed, and the US gets first access to the oil reserves of Bolivia. Bond ignores this of course, and eventually captures Greene and leaves him to die in the desert with nothing but a can of motor oil to drink.

Compared to Blofeld or Hugo Drax of Moonraker, Greene is a dull villain, at least by Hollywood standards. However, despite its mediocre reputation, Quantum is perhaps the most realistic Bond film. Last year, socialist Bolivian president Evo Morales was ousted in a  US-backed coup. Commentators noted that Bolivia is rich in lithium, the key component of electric car batteries. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, was asked about this connection on twitter, and he responded with “We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it!” to smugly imply he was involved in the coup. Although Morales’s party returned to power in a recent election, the stark lesson still remains. If there is anything to be learned from Quantum, it is that real world villians lack giant space lasers and mechanical hands, but rather simply place their own profit over human lives. 


I detested Quantum when I first saw it, and my scriptwriting cause-and-effect brain loathed its awkward retconning and shoehorning (eclipsed later by Spectre!), but a rewatch directly following Casino Royale actually stands up quite well.

It certainly has it's momments that work well. Mathieu Amalric's portayl of Greene still stands out to me because the reasons I wrote about, he's not deformed by scars or mechanical hands, but he is monsterous. 

I have always been a pretty stanch Quantum of Solace supporter, so I'm really happy to hear it improved on a rewatch for you, Daniel.  That one-two punch of Casino and Quantum might be the most emotionally resonant pairing in the entire Bond canon, for me.

And, Thomas, I also agree that the threat of Quantum - and another reason I enjoy it so much - is unconventional for Bond because of Greene and Quantum's comparatively ordinary presentation as capitalistic, corporate powers.

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