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Movie Reviews – Body of Lies & Quantum of Solace

Posted by RB Kollannur on November 15, 2008

“How do you expect me to run an operation, when you’re running a side operation that f***s up my own” – Roger Ferris (Body of Lies)

Body of Lies is about the world of foreign espionage embedded with secrecy and deceit with no clue of what is actually happening, leaving the audience unsure of whether what they are seeing on screen has some other relevance or foreshadowing something else. In the centre of all of these conspiracies is Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) trying to chase down a UBL like terrorist who has been blowing up bombs across Europe. His boss, Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe), uses him as his eyes and ears in the Middle East, but keeps running other operations on the side without informing him, that leaves Ferris in the open and unprotected. There is also the suave Jordan intelligence head, who has to look after his own interests while interacting with the CIA. In the meantime, Ferris rings up a romance with a Jordani nurse who does not know of his real identity.

The movie is built around suspense of the conspiracies and the counter conspiracies of the movie. In one scene, Ferris is staking out a terrorist safehouse, only to realize his boss has a side operation which compromises his position. After a while though, the novelty wears off and everyone starts to expect something fishy around every corner. DiCaprio and Crowe pull a stellar performance, while the supporting cast performs well as well. The thread of the developing romance of Ferris and Aisha (the Jordani nurse) adds on positively to the movie, as an attempt to humanize the central character and to understand the local culture in the midst of ongoing wars. On the whole, the movie is a good watch, especially if you are a DiCaprio or a Crowe fan.

For some reason, the James Bond franchise chose to go for a reboot with Daniel Craig. So out went the gadgets, the cars, the drinks and to an extent the girls. I am not sure why they chose to remove all of the fancy features that we have come to associate with James Bond, but I am told it is because James Bond became clichéd and started losing audience. Without the glam quotient, Casino Royale still picked up the big bucks (May be the critics knew what they were talking about). Quantum of Solace picks up right where Casino Royale left off, which is also quite odd. The James Bond movies I’ve seen are generally disconnected stand alone stories. But in these days of Harry Potter and LOTR, I guess tthe public are used to the idea of a movie series. So we have the new James Bond.

Quantum of Solace starts off with a high speed chase with Bond dragging the villain from the first movie in the boot of his car. Though the chase was quite an adrenaline rush, it failed to match the freerunning chase in the opening sequence of Casino Royale (Probably because I prefer running to driving). While attempting to interrogate the culprit, M’s security guard attempts to kill her and make off with the villain. Bond catches up with the guard, but the villain escapes. Surprised by the reach of their enemy organization to infiltrate MI6, M tries to follow the guard’s sponsors and find his masters. The money trail leads them to Dominic Greene, chairman of Greene Planet, who is planning a coup in Bolivia. The movie takes off from there with Bond attempting to capture Greene and his masters.

Though the movie is high on adrenaline from start to finish, it is definitely not a Bond movie. Nor does it try to be. It is yet another arduous step in Daniel Craig’s long way to become the James Bond we have all grown accustomed to. Unfortunately, it also means that Quantum of Solace is just another action movie, which Hollywood is never short of. Hopefully, there won’t be many steps in Craig’s way, because Bond stands to lose its aura over similar movies like the Bourne series. Though we do not see Bond adopt any of the “Bondly” features, we do see him “go rogue” from MI6 in an attempt to catch the criminal and have enough patience to elicit information before killing the criminal, a slight improvement from the previous one. In the end, it is revealed that the enemy organization they are hunting is called “Quantum”. Expecting the next movie to follow up from there.

Watch Quantum of Solace as a James Bond movie, you may be disappointed, but watch it as an action movie, you are certainly in for an exciting ride.


One Response to “Movie Reviews – Body of Lies & Quantum of Solace”

  1. patrick said

    Quantum of Solace is entertaining at least… a fantastic job with the styling and picture quality, but the movie as a whole could stand to lose six or seven fewer chase scenes

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