Quantum of Solace

I know this is old news, but I wasn’t a member here when the film came out, and I would like to express why I love–yes, love–this movie, even though I know I am at odds with many of you on this topic.

To me, this movie most lucidly depicts the dirty, gritty, dangerous world of which Fleming wrote so candidly. It is precisely because it is the antithesis of the cutesy comic book world of the Roger Moore years that I love it so much. I will explain my position using certain lines and scenes as illustrations:

  1. Greene: “The Americans will accept any dictatorship as long as they get their cut of the action.”

Friends, this is the most accurate and succinct interpretation of American foreign policy ever voiced on film. Doubt me? Read a history book. America’s position is, "You can eat babies if you want, so long as you grease Uncle Sam’s palm. Oh, and if you have oil, so much the better.

  1. Bond: "I’ve always wondered what South America would look like if no one cared about communism or coke.

Leiter: “Thanks. I’ll take that as a compliment coming from a Brit.”

Imperialism very coolly addressed by a couple of operatives of imperialistic powers. Again, REALISM.

  1. Many fans hated the scene where Bond discards the body of Mathis in a dumpster, but in the real world of espionage, the world Fleming wrote of, this is exactly what would happen. You don’t get attached to someone you might have to sacrifice to complete the mission.

Quantum of Solace, more than any other film in the series depicts unflinchingly the painful, squalid life of a secret agent, whose only solace is the belief that what he is doing will ultimately protect the innocent lives of others.

That’s my position, and I am sticking to it.

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Ever in a Bond film, certainly. Slightly nervous of them to put this into the mouth of a villain, though (possible get-out against any accusations of political bias?). It’s the same implication coming from the Foreign Secretary later on which is arguably even more troubling.

Yes, they’ve rather withdrawn from this with a brace of fantastical George vs the Dragon concepts since - perhaps they were burned by the reaction. I wonder if we need the direct exposition though when the Gregory Beam character personifies it? Perhaps it needs to be in neon, on occasion.

Yes, and I’ve never understood the reaction to this scene. Moore Bond leaves the bodies of those who have helped him littered (pun… fortuitous) everywhere and his utterly appalling treatment of the abused Andrea Anders seems to get a freer ride when it’s justifiable by the same argument.

Do. Always nice to see the film getting some love.

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I really like QOS. I think Dominic Green gets a bad press as a weak villain too. In fact I find him really memorable: a creepy, weasel like embodiment of self serving evil. Camille: “You tried to have me killed!” Greene: “And that made me very sad.” Classic!!! I only wish the editing of the boat chase was better. Oh, and please no more exploding gas canisters saving the day… ever!!!

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Aaron Sorkin agrees with you, he has David Harbour repeat his line from QOS “Yeah, you’re right, we should just deal with nice people” when he’s in The Newsroom, and again it was in regards to American foreign policy.

The film runs on a whole attitude of a scathing view of government and politics - including Amalric citing Tony Blair and Nicolas Sarkozy as the main influences on how they portrayed Greene.

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On first viewing, I was disappointed in Quantum of Solace. I so loved Casino Royale that I suppose any followup, especially one designed to be a direct sequel, was bound to fall short. But, on second viewing, everything changed for me. I saw the film on its own merits, and appreciated many of the same things you did.

I have never understood the vitriol directed at Bond’s disposal of Mathis’s body. As you correctly pointed out, that’s exactly what would happen in that situation. It, and several other aspects of the film, pointed to the grim, grimy element of espionage.

So often, Bond is all about glamour. Quantum of Solace painted, if not a realistic picture, then certainly a believable one. And that, for me, was a big part of its appeal.

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I think the people who have issues with “Mathis in the rubbish” object to the brainless NONSENSE of it rather than any moral objection. He hides his friend’s body in a pile of trash - to conceal the incident to buy himself some time? - fine - but leaves every other body out for people to discover? It comes across as Bond going out of his way to desecrate a friend’s body just to try and please internet nerds with how cold it is. It’s insultingly stupid.

It’s like if after Aki was poisoned, Bond pulled down her pants and propped her body on a toilet in front of Tiger. What would be the point? Like the director was in a different country while the scene was filmed.

QOS is a stupid, obnoxious film. The plane chase should have just been a 10 minute shot of a pile of money burning. The skydive is worse than the infamous DAD parasurfing. Every line delivery falls flat. Every scene feels like those bits between levels of a 1998 Playstation game which try to have “plot”. The taxi drive in Bolivia might be a contender for single worst scene in the franchise.

Say something nice? Photography is impressive and the opera sequence is mostly inspired and nearly sticks the landing. The part where Bond and Greene see each other at the bottom of the stairs - and then Bond sloooowly turns to move away - is weirdly electric.

The worst Bond movie by quite a bit.

I think the thought process behind hiding Mathis was not to cover the entire incident, merely Mathis’ involvement. Look at it from this angle:

Some corrupt cops are hired to take out Mathis, Bond and whoever happens to be in on the party. There’s even a chance they aren’t real cops, just killers using the disguise. At any rate it’s unlikely the entire police force will be in on the job.

Now the cops are discovered - but without Mathis’ body nobody who hasn’t been in on the hit will be able to make the connection to Bond. Even Greene cannot know whether Mathis is still a factor or not.

From this point hiding Mathis does make some operational sense. Whether it actually achieves anything… Well, even if it gives Bond a head start of just five minutes, those might be crucial minutes.

At least that’s… some shred of logic! I don’t know if it’s a great motivation for what we see, or Bond’s best idea in the world, but it’s something. Thank you.

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What a pity they didn’t add an extra 30 seconds to the run time here and there to explain these things.

Here - I’ll throw you a theory.

Mathis lies dying in the street. Bond cradles him and forgives him, believing that he betrayed him in CR. Mathis dies. Bond could leave him, as he has countless bodies throughout the film so far, but no, Mathis deserves better than to lie in the street like a dog. So Bond chucks him in the dumpster, because, hey, that’s all there is these there parts (they were not pulled over in one of the more up-market neighborhoods, I would suggest…)

The camera pulls up and out, revealing Mathis lying in the squared off dumpster - the only coffin available to Bond on short notice. It is a coffin after all, despite the rubbish and detritis of regular life. Which is pertinant of course, because QoS is all about the contradictions of the messy business of our hero. Pretty much everyone in QoS is a bit of scumbag (with the exception of Leiter maybe), all short of much in the way of moral compass. Including our hero, of course, who spends the whole film stomping all over the place not giving a damn about anyone else, all because his treacherous girlfriend committed hari-kari before he had the chance to stick it to her. If you think anyone is above being branded “trash” in this action film trying just a little bit to make a point about the brutal realities of what they’re all doing, then hey, make your case.

Ironically enough, Mathis gets the pretty much the best burial on offer (via Bond’s acceptance and acknowledgement of their “friendship”) as he’s spent most of his screen time in QoS being a decent enough chap fully aware of the vagaries of the business they’re all in. Considering how Bond has treated pretty much everyone in the films, well, I’d offer Mathis got the equivalent of a 21-gun salute.

If you’re upset about Mathis’ fate, well, I’m guessing you’re probably also upset about shakey-cam, gun-barrel at the end, why wasn’t Q in it?, whatever else offends your “this isn’t a Bond-movie” sensibility.

But hey, what the hell do I know about symbolism? Other than we’ve had precious little of it over 50-plus years of being hit over the head with the bleeding-obvious, so a little bit now and again wouldn’t hurt anyone… :slight_smile:

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Very well thought out and eloquently stated! Thank you, planattack.

Most audience members would consider going out of your way to put your friend in a pile of trash MORE disrespectful than leaving him on a street. Maybe instead of a bouttonnaire he could have spat on Mathis too? What a weird notion. I don’t buy it!

Bond also says “He wouldn’t care”, which suggests he KNOWS it’s disrespectful. Which begs the question - what’s supposed to be happening?

I think we’ve all spent more time trying to rationalise this scene than Purvis, Wade and Haggis did when they wrote it. It’s a trainwreck of a script.

It is an action, commented on in dialogue. This suggests whoever wrote it had some particular purpose in mind.

Since the script was far from ready when the strike began, the production probably addressed only the most pressing issues, hoping that other problems wouldn’t concern most audiences or sort themselves by the visual storytelling.

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Much the same for me.

I love the car chase, but I think the film really picks up after the Siena sequence, which I’m not really a fan of. The fight with Slate is good, and I don’t mind the boat chase editing. We all know how good the Tosca scene is, and I enjoy everything with Mathis.

The plane chase isn’t the best, but I don’t hate it either. The desert finale is rather weak (unstable fuel cells), but the Yusef interrogation is gold. QoS isn’t the worst film in the franchise at all. It actually has a lot going for it, enough for me to consider the whole product worthwhile.

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I guess they obviously thought it was moving statement on the lonely, isolated life of an agent - moreover that Bond expects the same when it’s his turn; no love or family to grieve, thus no proper burial necessary (funerals being for the grieving).

It’s a suitably melancholy and plausible notion… for Bond. However, in Mathis’ case he had a ‘significant other’ to grieve for him; the wife, or lover he’d shacked up with and whom Bond had tempted Mathis away from. So the ‘because we’re lonely spies no one will care’ logic doesn’t apply at all to Mathis.

Bond projecting his own melancholy upon Mathis corpse makes him seem more than a little narcissistic - even psychopathic, since he voices no responsibility for Mathis’ demise, despite bearing a rather large responsibility.

On face value the scene says something Flemingesque, but a little more consideration it’s mawkishly contrived, leaving a pretty bitter taste. It wreaks of last minute rewrites by someone who doesn’t write for a living.

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This is an interesting thread, Quantum of Solace really delivered for me in the cinema ( my father loved it too) it had a prepulsion to it that few Bond movies posess. Then when I saw it a second time the obvious flaws were more apparent and have been discussed , I liked it less on its second viewing and then came Skyfall etc and for a few years QOS was not on my radar.
Watched it again a few years ago and that visceral excitement was back. The film is brave - direct sequel ( borrowed I see by Killing Eve) - Bond Girl is a friend /comrade in arms- referencing realpolitik in a way not seen in Bond very often( if at all )- it’s very streamlined film and it is one that most closely evokes the spirit of a Fleming adventure.
I watched it recently and it was late and I was possibly intoxicated, but I was struck by the notion that it would have been quite powerful to switch the deaths , with Mathis covered in oil ( a similar reversal to Craig coming out of the water in CR) and Fields missing ( M telling Bond she’s missing because of his recklessness) Bond deduces she’s in the boot of his car and needs to hide the body quickly …
Again I was both tired and a little tipsy, suffice to say it’s a rollicking adventure imo

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I think the Mathis dumpster disposal suits Bond, particularly Craig’s interpretation. As with Severine, Bond doesn’t allow time for outward grieving as he has to keep moving, and the show must go on. It’s not to say he doesn’t care. I’m sure placing Mathis in a dumpster hurt Bond, but he cherishes more the memory of the man. Memories he can carry forever, the lifeless body he cannot. The sequence may seem one dimensional and psychopathic, but I think it’s a lot deeper than that.

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QOS, in many ways, reminds me of LTK. Those things that you don’t normally see in a Bond film, or particularly in its predecessor or successor, make it MASSIVLY entertaining. Sort of a palate cleanser, between an EON Bond movie with more Fleming touches than normal, and a love letter to the silhouette of Bond’s impact on popular culture. It’s still Bond, but just different enough to noticeable.

Yes. I faintly gestured with my right hand, and took a sip of sherry with my left, as i said that.

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This is indeed a very good idea. I would maybe not let Bond figure out where she is; maybe even not reveal her fate at all. A fellow agent who just disappears, never to be seen again…

That’s even better!