“Quantum of Solace” – Susan Granger reviews

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This 22nd installment in the James Bond franchise is its first sequel, taking up an hour after “Casino Royale.” Arriving in Sienna, Italy, during the famous Palio horse race, Bond (Daniel Craig) discovers that mysterious Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), whom he shot in the leg before the closing credits, is just a cog in a complex global criminal conspiracy known as QUANTUM, stretching from Europe to Latin America, as Bond is pursued not only by bad guys but also by MI6 and the CIA.

The Bond babe is duplicitous Camille (Ukrainian model Olga Kurylenko), whose villainous lover, Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) of Greene Planet is negotiating with Bolivian general Medrano (Joaquin Cosio) to control South America’s water supply.

Scripted by “Royale” writers Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, directed by Marc Forster (“Finding Neverland,” “Monster’s Ball”) and photographed by Roberto Schaefer, it’s less in the elegant, stylish Bond tradition and more like Jason Bourne’s slick, minimalist, plot-driven thrillers. Film editor Richard Pearson, second-unit director Dan Bradley and stunt coordinator Gary Powell are Bourne veterans. And the chase around the floating stage of a Bregenz Opera Festival is homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much.”

Without the mischievous 007 wit and the iconic catchphrases, Craig’s tight-lipped superspy emerges as a humorless, vengeful killing machine. And the title bears no relation to Ian Fleming’s short story from the collection “For Your Eyes Only.” Moneypenny and gadget-master Q with his astonishing inventions are missing, supplanted by Judi Dench’s motherly M, support from Giancarlo Giannini, Gemma Arterton and Jeffrey Wright and countless product placements. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Quantum of Solace” is an eye-popping, action-packed 8. At 105 minutes, it’s the shortest Bond picture on record.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.