One Great Shot: Quantum of Solace (2008)

Preamble

Is there a good shot in Quantum of Solace? Based on its reputation, you’d be inclined to say no. However, setting aside the mixed reception, odd title and the writer’s strike crippling the screenplay, there’s a shot worth discussing. What’s your favourite shot from Quantum of Solace? Let me know in the comments below.

One Great Shot: Quantum of Solace

Quantum of Solace represents the first sequel in the Bond franchise. With that in mind, there’s a potential for expanding on 007’s character. This shot (and by extension the short scene) of the secret agent drinking with Mathis realises that promise. At first blush, the shot illustrates how Daniel Craig embodies a particular quality of Ian Fleming’s novel portrait of the character. He comes across as a disgruntled government employee, who has a heavy penchant for drinking etc.

But the more I look at the shot, the more I realise that Craig’s Bond at this moment is trying to mask a deep-seated pain. There’s also a sense of emptiness that pervades the character too. The power of this shot (much like the scene itself) is in how much Bond is trying not to say. But the near stony silence throughout his conversation with Mathis does speak volumes. Crucially, he nonchalantly asks the bartender to list the ingredients in his drink to Mathis.

By itself, this is not a huge deal. But in Casino Royale, Bond dubs his signature drink (Vodka Martini- “shaken, not stirred”), Vesper. By not even acknowledging this, Bond shows that’s he’s not comfortable with referring to Vesper by name. There’s a recurring dialogue in Casino Royale about whether or not Bond has his armour on. This shot and scene plays to the idea that in private (relatively), he’s prepared to reflect and mourn the loss of Vesper. However, in company, he has his armour on, which he slyly attempts to mask with the consumption of alcohol. In this way, the shot becomes one of those few times where the franchise melds with Fleming’s flawed but all too human literary creation.

About Sartaj Govind Singh

Notes from a distant observer: “Sartaj is a very eccentric fellow with a penchant for hats. He likes watching films and writes about them in great analytical detail. He has an MA degree in Philosophy and has been known to wear Mickey Mouse ears on his birthday.”
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