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*** Official QUANTUM OF SOLACE Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Robert Crawford, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. Chris Atkins

    Chris Atkins Well-Known Member

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    I will say this about the editing: for a film with as many quick cuts as QoS has, it's amazing how LONG the film feels, and it only clocks in at 1 hour 46 minutes.
     
  2. Ray H

    Ray H Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. I must have missed this. When does she say this?
     
  3. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Quantum of Solace forgets to drop the other shoe and we're left waiting for the sound of it. If you are confused about Mathis in the films that's probably because nobody seems to have a definite idea who the character is and what he's doing.

    In the novel Casino Royale, Renee Mathis is a Frenchman sent by the Deuxieme Bureau (French Intelligence) to assist Bond. They are already warm friends from working on previous cases. The novel is set in France, on the coast, so it follows that Bond's mission is supported by the French authorities as well by the American CIA which sends a new man, Felix Leiter. The mission to beat Le Chiffre at cards was cooked up in London by S. and submitted by Bill Tanner to M. who approves it along with two other intelligence services. The mission is not Bond's idea. He is selected as the best man for the job, but before accepting it, Bond warns his superiors that such an undertaking risks losing the Treasury's money.

    The film changes the locations, jumbles the characters and motivations so that nothing makes any sense. Instead of being a friend and an ally, Mathis is changed to a stranger and a possible double agent. This change impacts the entire film and necessitates changing other plot elements and characters so that the pieces fit in a different -- tortured -- way. Nothing is gained by these changes, but the film perverts all the novel's characters in subtle ways; especially Bond, whose reckless stupidity in the film is a poor substitute for his down-to-earth pragmatism in the novel. Bond's character development is emotional and romantic in the novel and does not involve spying which he knows how to do. The film Casino Royale falls to pieces if you examine it too closely.

    Giancarlo Giannini is an Italian, so his Renee Mathis is changed to an Italian operative of MI.6. He's not wrong for the part, exactly, although he doesn't resemble the hardboiled intelligence man described by Fleming. Giannini doesn't seem to have a clear idea how to play this undefined version of Mathis. If the novel's version of Le Chiffre had been maintained, Giannini would be more appropriately cast as the villain. If you've seen Giannini's Italian films, he is a strong actor with a powerful presence who could mine Le Chiffre for everything the character is worth.

    It looks to me as if the writers kept changing their minds about Mathis in the two films, as if their plans for him were tried out and then discarded somewhere along the rewrites and then left unresolved. If you were to ask Giannini "is Mathis supposed to be a double agent or a mole?" I bet he would answer "I don't know." It is a failure of both films that this question is raised and left unresolved. Don't look for clarity because it isn't there.
     
  4. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Bond threw Mathis's body in the dumpster first, then took the folded money from his wallet. If it were meant to look like a mugging, wouldn't he be left in the street? and wouldn't Bond take the credit cards as well? The need for throwing Mathis in the dumpster is to tell us something significant about Bond as a character. What do you suppose that might be?
     
  5. Jeff Cooper

    Jeff Cooper Well-Known Member

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    I think it is when Bond goes back to the hotel and Strawberry Fields is dead on the bed covered in oil and M is there waiting for him. She says something like "Renee Mathis was found dead in a dumpster with two bullets in his back".
     
  6. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Are you complimenting the film? I hear most people complain it's too short. Personally I think the timing is off-kilter, and I don't mean the action sequences. We're not given enough time to feel the moment. The action sequences are cut so tight there isn't enough time for the images to pass through the retina and travel up the optic nerves to register on the brain(!)
     
  7. Chris Atkins

    Chris Atkins Well-Known Member

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    No, it's not a compliment. It drags--even at it's shorter run time--precisely because the editing is so choppy and quick, some times so much so that we don't get enough info to process a scene and we feel like we are playing catch up with the plot.
     
  8. Ray H

    Ray H Well-Known Member

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    That doesn't necessarily mean it's his real name.

    The implication that I got from Mathis's death scene was that agents are given cover names ("Renee Mathis" being an assigned name) when they join the agency and the reason Bond asks is because he's comforting a man about to die and doesn't even know his real name. This would add a bit more to the dumpster business, adding to the anonymity that comes with the profession. When you die, you die without connections and the agency disavows any knowledge of you. But this could very well not be the case. It's never really been mentioned before in the other films. It's just that the Mathis using his own name business and thus Bond learning a lesson sounds too far fetched and is never even brought up.
     
  9. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Well-Known Member

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    I watched the QoS blu-ray last night, so it was the first time since I saw it in the theater. It made more sense this time. Especially with the advantage of being able to rewind segments and turning on subtitles.

    I found that the dialogue in this film tended to be difficult to understand. Particularly Judi Dench when she's angry. And Daniel Craig as well wasn't very clear.

    And the ending coda was clearer to me too. Prior, it wasn't clear to me that the couple Bond is waiting for to arrive home is actually the man who was Vesper's boyfriend who was really a member of Quantum and used her to get to Bond. I liked how Bond surmised the girl is a Canadian agent who would be set up just like Vesper was.

    I really like the idea of Quantum as a secret organization that MI6 and the CIA now have to watch out for. It is now the new enemy to take the place of SMERSH and SPECTRE.

    I won't get into the nitty gritty stuff. I realize that it was a disappointment that Casino Royale and this film following on is not being totally true to the novel. I read it and I really liked the book a lot and how the characters are fleshed out there. But I see this film series is EON's Bond. So I look upon it as such and evaluate it on those merits. Plus I see how they have to make certain changes in order for the film to resonate better to a modern audience.

    The uncertainty of Mathis loyalties was still unclear to me as well. I would have preferred it stay true to the book, but there must have been a reason for them to make it so unclear. I didn't know Field's first name was Strawberry!

    I actually want to see this and Casino Royale again back to back just to see if I can get better clarity. And in BD for the first time! Another instance brought up in this thread is the growth of the Bond character. if it's there, it was lost to me.

    Another thing I noticed Bond do during this second viewing of QoS is his drinking. That was something that somewhat went to the background. In the novels, he drinks a lot. In these recent films, he appears to be drinking more then past film versions. Though they've always drank in the films, Craig's Bond seems to be a harder drinker.

    On another note, one thing that I found interesting in this film is the level of brutality in the hand to hand combat. No doubt a lot of the fighting and chase is very Bourne like. But I like to go back to Goldeneye. I thought the fights in that film were pretty brutal too. Though tamer. I particularly thought the fight at the end between Bond and Alec Trevelyan was quite well done. And Fleming had often described the brutality of the fighting in the novels.
     
  10. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    The toughening up is a good thing.
    Symbolically, James Bond is Death in QoS.
     
  11. JonZ

    JonZ Well-Known Member

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    I enjoyed QoS, prob becuase my expectations were so low reading some of the bad things that have been said about it.

    I agree the editing in the beginning was out of control. I also agree we need more Bondisms in these films. We dont have to see cars that turn into submarines, but throw us a few things so we know we're watching James Bond.

    Watching Nolans Batman films - we can still have cool gadgets in a real world setting.


    And the blonde hair still bothers me.
     

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