Shaken, not stirred

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

In Quantum of Solace, his second outing as James Bond, Daniel Craig's hard face and physique serve the character especially well. Having lost the woman he really loved in Casino Royale, this time it's personal, a quest for vengeance that just happens to uncover a whopping international conspiracy. Cheek, a part of every previous 007 incarnation (including Craig's first go-round), has given way to consuming anger, with a fear chaser distilled by Judi Dench's M.

After a killer car chase and an aggressive interrogation, a conspirator in Vesper Lynd's death reveals his part in a shadowy crime organization that's gotten very close to M without her realizing.

It's fronted by Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), who trades in nation-building favors and precious resources. Bond picks up an ally in his quest to learn more in Camille (Olga Kurylenko), a former intimate (therefore useful) companion of Greene's.

Based in such primal emotions, the new film has the capacity to hit on a visceral level, which director Marc Forster (Finding Neverland) reinforces by placing cameras in the middle of the action. But it's also fixed on dark things, and loses sight of the big picture too easily.

As a result, neither a sense of fun nor a fully cohesive story emerges. And sadly, French film star Amalric doesn't make the most of his big American showcase. After acting with only his eyes in the wonderful The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, he seems stuck on that approach.

"Quantum of Solace"

Opens Friday

Grade: B-