Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Moment of Rest

I cannot tell you how much I am both pleased and irritated by the repair of my computer. Yes, the system is up and running, and I am confident that I have no spyware or zombie ware on the system. But I can't tell you how long it is going to take me to get the unit running efficiently - principally reinstalling all that other stuff I was using, like Word. So, I am back, with internet access, after a moment of rest. And speaking of that, I have to come to someone's defense: Mr. Bond this one is for you.

I am OFFICIALLY sick of people grousing about the title to the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace. "We don't understand what it means," one reviewer complains. Another says, "It has nothing to do with the movie." I reached my breaking point with these complaints yesterday, listening to a local movie reviewer do the exact same thing. In interest of full disclosure however, I need to add this: I haven't seen it yet, probably won't until it comes out on DVD. With that said, I can figure out exactly what the title has to do with the movie. I am only telling you what every cover article and review has said thus far, so there are no spoiler here, and since I haven't seen it, I can't spoil it anyway, right?

James Bond's love interest, Vesper, from the previous movie, Casino Royale, was killed by members of a shadowy organization. (I do wish we could go back to the 80's when the organizations were upfront or rogue governments.) However, duty calls Bond back into service to find the head of this organization. Now, this is the hamhanded bit: the organization's name is Quantum. But that is the red herring.

What reviewers miss comes down to a simple connection. This is a re-imagined Bond, a Bond who is still something of a novice in the Double-O world. This is the first encounter with real tragedy and real loss and doesn't know what to make of it. All Bond wants is a moment of rest, a moment to grieve, and when you are a spy and, let's face it, an assassin, there are no moments of rest. There is only the next job. I think that's why earlier incarnations of Bond comes off so flippant: by this time in the career, they have killed or nearly been killed that the only way to get through is to laugh it off, shag prodigiously, and drink rampagingly. This Bond, Daniel Craig's vision, is of a man being broken down by the experience, becoming the flippant Sean Connery or the unflappable Roger Moore. He is still a man of brute force, but not yet a man to be reckoned with. Have you figured out the connection yet?

The word quantum, coming from the world of science, means a discernable quantity or amount. Solace means rest, comfort, or restorative. Put it all together and you get "A Moment of Rest." Now, we can see, perhaps, what the film makers might have been after. As I come to this movie, this is precisely how I am going to judge it: did it contrast this experience of rest with the lack of that rest and how does the drive to face down the reality of his loss drive Bond?

I am not the smartest monkey in the forest, by a long stretch. But if I could figure this out, why can't the reviewers?


Matt G said...

Well-deduced. I went to see this movie last night (joking with my friends beforehand that I wanted to know exactly in what unit of measure a Quantum of Solace would be counted). The title makes perfect sense.

Anonymous said...

"Quantum of Solstace" is also from a short story by I can't remember whom. It's basically about not caring for other people.

Anonymous said...

The short story is by Fleming; i re-read it the other day to see what, if any, elements were taken from it into the film. In that story, the Quantum of Solace is the tiniest amount of compassion required for any human relationship to survive. The short story has nothing to do with the film, and involves Bond being told a story of adultery by the Governor of the Bahamas.