Ranking the Bond Movies: #11 – Quantum of Solace (2008)

Quantum of Solace will always be a tricky film for me, because it’s very much dependent on Casino Royale. In many respects, it can stand alone as its own film, but you really don’t get the dramatic impact of the film without having seen its predecessor.

Now, it’s a great film. It really is. It has everything about Bond, and for being the shortest entry in the franchise, it sure has its fair share of action. And it’s definitely a film I’d watch more than maybe the ranking suggests. But — I don’t know — it just doesn’t feel like a top ten Bond film for me. It feels like a #11.

It would be impossible to argue that it isn’t a top ten film. Mostly I’m sort of hedging my bets by putting it here, in the hopes that Skyfall completes a sort of trilogy in the series (or leaves this alone as a pseudo-sequel to Casino Royale. Either way, it’s gonna do one or the other) and ends up itself being a top ten film. In that case, my ranking of this one ends up all right.

So it’s not like I don’t think Quantum of Solace isn’t a top ten Bond film, it’s just — we’re in a weird position at the moment, where I really need Skyfall to let me know where I’m going to rank this one. I need to know where it fits in the series first.

The cold open begins with this sequence. I won’t say a word. I’ll let the screenshots and TokyoRemix do the talking.

TokyoRemix:

The side strake is so definitively Aston Martin. It’s on all of them, you really can’t not show it. 

TokyoRemix:

Now the hood, which is made of carbon fiber. Nice shot of the vents and the power bulge.

TokyoRemix:

Excellent shot of one of the exhaust tips enclosed in the DBS’ one-piece carbon fiber rear diffuser. This is looking like an Aston Martin brochure, and I like it.

TokyoRemix:

An Alfa Romeo 159 is in pursuit. Everyone loves an Alfa, and this one is a direct descendant of the only good car in Octopussy.

 TokyoRemix:

Well, there’s the brake caliper and carbon ceramic disc brake. There’s nothing about this car that isn’t sexy.

TokyoRemix:

And it’s a six-speed manual with a brushed aluminum gear lever.

TokyoRemix:

This is the part that makes me sorry we only have screenshots, because those vents may as well be subwoofers. The sound kicks in when we see Bond’s hand on the shifter, and by the time this shot happens one second later, the V12 is nearing its redline. I get goosebumps.

TokyoRemix:

It’s got a taut stance, muscular curves, and an awesome chrome strip over the rear tail lights to accentuate the widened rear track. 

TokyoRemix:

Whoever orchestrated this shot should be given a drillion dollars. It’s like the images reflected on women’s bodies in Maurice Binder’s old credit sequences. This is all happening so fast that you can barely register all the amazing stuff that’s going on.

TokyoRemix:

How many more angles can we shoot this chase from? More, give me more!

TokyoRemix:

Craig’s into it. This is him getting slammed by the truck that lost control under machine gun fire. The tight quarters and quick action are great. The guy’s got F1 driver reflexes. 

TokyoRemix:

In one of the best parts of the chase, a metal beam skewers the driver’s side door, and to escape, Bond has to flick the car around, ripping the door off. 

TokyoRemix:

To the casual viewer, this looks like a normal spin — like Bond does a 360. It’s actually a double 180, which is in fact different. We can tell by the sounds before and after that he throws it in neutral halfway through the spin, then re-engages the gear on the way out. The stunt coordinators could have left this out and most people wouldn’t have given it a second thought. It’s excellent editing and tremendous attention to detail.

TokyoRemix:

It’s a shame we’re out of the tunnel, really. There’s nothing quite like the sound of a V12 echoed off of concrete walls.

TokyoRemix:

Scratch one bogey.

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One of my favorite shots of the whole chase. As they emerge from the tunnel, the camera is moving at a moderate pace toward them, as though you’re viewing the action from the driver’s seat of an oncoming car.

TokyoRemix:

Oh no. A Land Rover Discovery Wagon. That’s going to pose a real problem for the Aston Martin. Or not.

TokyoRemix:

I’m always glad to see stunt coordinators showcase a car’s abilities on multiple surfaces. Now we get to the the DBS try to hoof it on dirt and gravel hairpins.

TokyoRemix:

I’m loving the wide shots for this part of the chase. It’s sort of like how the opening chase of Casino Royale begins with tight shots of them running through the jungle and opens up with wide shots of them fighting on the crane.

(Mike Note: I love the wide shots too. Look at those screenshots!)

TokyoRemix:

This has never been the Aston Martin’s natural habitat. As a grand tourer, it’s for long, high speed trips without too much twisty stuff. But here we see it stepping the tail out and looking a lot lighter than it’s supposed to be. You make a compelling argument, Aston Martin.

TokyoRemix:

This was the only way that the Land Rover was going to be a problem. But that’s a possibility with hairpins like these. Who knew a quarry would be such a brilliant place for a car chase?

(Mike Note: Schwarzenegger. In Raw Deal. That’s right, I went there.)

TokyoRemix:

Craig’s managing to look really involved with this chase. Most other Bond actors would be too composed during action like this. He knows this shit is crazy.

TokyoRemix:

Now it’s getting really close. This is exciting, and the sound is still thrilling. We then get this shot, which makes me all kinds of happy:

TokyoRemix:

Classic Bond. Slow vehicle blocking up the road. Dr. No, GoldenEye…some of the best car moments in Bond begin this way.

TokyoRemix:

We go left…

TokyoRemix:

But Bond went right and got the jump on you with his gat.

TokyoRemix:

It’s a shame the car had to die, but what a fantastic shot of it careening of a cliff. Spinning, no less. We get the great sound of the Alfa engine revving too high from lack of weight on the wheels.

TokyoRemix:

Step aside, Vespa. The Aston’s in town.

TokyoRemix:

You can shoot at it, rip a door off, ram it, and sprinkle it with angel dust — there’s just no way to make this car unsexy. Just look:

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We like every bit of this. A long, brick tunnel in which we get to view the Aston from multiple angles. Got the front, the interior, the fender, and then the side interior.

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We then find out that for this whole chase —

“It’s time to get out.”

Sploosh.

TokyoRemix:

I remember seeing this in the theater — weren’t we both there with some other people? — and clapping after this scene was done. There’s no way I could have stopped myself. I was utterly blown away, and I still am.

(Mike Note: We were there the second time with people. You went to the midnight showing and then went back on Friday night with a bunch of us. Those were the days… paying only like $5.50 for movie tickets.)

This then leads into our credit sequence, set to “Another Way to Die,” by Jack White & Alicia Keys.

I’m gonna break my “no screenshots with credits on them” rule for these next few, just because I really like what they did with them. (Plus it’s Jeffrey Wright’s credit, which automatically makes it okay.)

Of course that’s Judi’s credit image.

Nice way to reference the old school image of the hands that used to be in the Maurice Binder credit sequences.

I like this sequence a lot. Very fitting. The song actually isn’t as good as the sequence itself, even though I really like the song too.

We open in Siena, Italy. During some sort of festival.

Bond sets up Mr. White for interrogation.

M says the Americans won’t be happy. They wanted Le Chiffre alive.

She also tells him about Vesper’s boyfriend. Who faked his own death.

Yoink.

It’s not Bond if he doesn’t drink.

TokyoRemix:

Craig does the drinking the best of all of them, too. In Casino Royale, when he’s washing all the blood off himself and just downs that huge glass in one go? There are two times in a man’s life when that’s required: when your first son is born, and when you’ve just killed an African warlord in single combat.

M needs to know if she can trust him.

“And you don’t?”

“One would have to be a pretty cold bastard if he didn’t want revenge for the death of someone he loved.”

Bond says he won’t go after the guy – “He’s not important. And neither was she.”

Interrogation time.

“You’re gonna tell us who you work for.”

“I was always very interested to meet you. I heard so much about you from Vesper.”

Oh, he’s good. He says that if she hadn’t died, they’d have gotten Bond too, since he figures Bond would have done anything for her.

Judi says the longer he takes to tell them, the more painful it’s going to be for him.

Mr. White finds that hysterical. They don’t even know his organization exists, meanwhile they think they do. He says “the first thing you should know about us is that we have people everywhere.”

“Am I right?”

Damn, Mitchell. He was Judi’s bodyguard.

TokyoRemix:

I may have mentioned this before, but shouldn’t you be shooting Bond first? As Judi’s bodyguard, wouldn’t you know that he’s the one who shouldn’t be given a chance to react?

Fight scene.

White gets shot.

And he’s gone.

And there goes M. She’s okay.

And White is presumably dead.

Chase scene!

Bond wins.

I like when they do sequences like this without dialogue. It really lets the screenshots do all the talking.

So Bond returns to the safehouse…

Everyone’s gone.

Back in London –

She’s okay!

They’re sweeping Mitchell’s apartment. He worked for M for eight years. For five, he was her personal bodyguard. He passed a lie detector test and background check every single year.

M can’t believe that when Mr. White said they have people everywhere, they actually had people everywhere. She can’t understand why they don’t know anything about this organization.

But – MI6 has something.

Checking the cuffs. Classic Bond move.

What they did was – they had put some marked bills into Le Chiffre’s money. Mitchell had one. And a bunch more from the same series of bills were recently deposited into a bank in Port-au-Prince under the name of Mr. Slate.

They have Mr. Slate’s hotel and room number, even.

One thing I love about Bond are these exact moments. A flimsy lead that sets the plot in motion that so clearly is going to turn out to be the right one. This is indeed a Glengarry lead.

Well fucking of course Bond is going there.

This is also blunt instrument Bond – he goes right to the hotel and right to the room. Other Bonds would have went to a casino and happened upon the dude. This one seeks out some shit.

He even knocks. Way to tip the dude off that you’re coming.

Open the door, no gun drawn – this motherfucker don’t give a fuck.

From this image, I can already see the next sixty seconds playing out in my head.

Check behind the glass, motherfucker. Always check the rooms before you go outside.

You’re like a white girl in a horror movie.

Well fucking obviously.

Fight scene.

Oh, he’s so fucked.

“A little faster, please? I haven’t got all day.”

TokyoRemix:

This part’s funny. Checking himself out in the mirror, and they just cut back to the dead guy that Bond’s already forgotten about. Excellent.

I’m pretty sure this is his same routine once he gets done fucking a bitch.

Tokyo Drifter shot.

Bond decides to check to see if there were any messages for Slate.

There’s a briefcase for him. I also love how no one heard the fight upstairs. Says a lot about Haiti, doesn’t it?

And of course, because his dick is a magnet –

“Get in.”

“What?”

“Get in.”

“Ain’t got to tell me twice.”

This is Camille Montes, our Bond girl.

Let’s talk about her now. (And to get it out of the way — yes, he doesn’t sleep with her.)

TokyoRemix:

He doesn’t sleep with her. What else do you seriously need to know?

Okay, okay. She’s trying to kill General Medrano, who we’ll see soon. Her father was killed by Medrano, so now she’s all mad about that, I guess. She doesn’t suck as a Bond girl, she just…doesn’t sleep with him. Maybe it’s supposed to be his little mourning period for Vesper. But no, he sleeps with other chicks. So Camille is just hard to get, or something. Could have been better.

(Mike Note: Actually, because she doesn’t sleep with him, “She doesn’t suck as a Bond girl” might be the most appropriate thing to say.)

I love how this Bond is a pickpocket.

They’re being followed.

Is that a Live and Let Die reference? (Because I assume Haiti and New Orleans are interchangeable in their eyes.)

TokyoRemix:

Nah, I think it’s just that Haiti needs a lot of coffins. Like in Yojimbo or Fistful of Dollars…some places are just good for the coffin industry.

Way to lose a tail.

I guess Camille’s car should be mentioned as well.

TokyoRemix:

Camille is driving a Ford Ka Hydrogen model. It’s a compact car (as you can see) that’s powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. There’s zero reason for it to be here, other than Ford product placement. I mean, how many hydrogen vehicles are on the streets of the US, let alone Haiti? I’m sure there’s no hydrogen filling stations in Port-au-Prince. The thing might as well run on unobtainium. Let’s just pretend its a regular compact car. Cute.

“We didn’t settle on a price.”

“Well, make me an offer.”

What the fuck kind of transaction is this? Apparently Bond is supposed to be a geologist – this is some weird kind of roleplay shit. Is this the kind of shit that happens in Haiti on the regular?

“What the hell is this?”

“I think someone wants to kill you.”

I love the note of amusement in his voice as he says that. I love this entire situation. They say to get in the car, he gets in the car. He goes along with everything, finds out what he can find out (stealing her license), and then the amusement of, “Oh, bitch, you almost got fucking killed.”

I also love how he blocked that without looking.

“Bitch – what are you doing? That’s dangerous!”

So he breaks out, and she drives away.

Look at his face.

That’s just as great as that moment in The Man with the Golden Gun where he just fucking kicks the dude right in the face.

TokyoRemix:

This was some straight up Chuck Norris shit. Or better yet, Mongo. When he just punches the horse to the ground.

Might as well jump follow her.

M wants to know about Slate. Bond says he was a “dead end.”

“Damn it. He killed him!”

That line says everything you need to know about this reboot.

TokyoRemix:

This is PERFECT Bond. Humorous, just a little dark. And they say Craig can’t do funny.

So Camille goes down to the docks.

That’s Elvis, our villain’s main henchman. (Though he’s not really a henchman, since he’s not physical. He’s just sort of there.)

Camille’s not happy.

And, here’s our villain. Dominic Greene. We’ll talk about him in a second.

First, let me just say two things – I love how naturally creepy Mathieu Amalric is. It makes the character work so much better. And second, I love how he instantly recalculates when he realizes she’s still alive. It’s a nice little synecdoche for the Quantum organization, how when shit doesn’t go their way they basically can recalibrate instantly and not get fucked up by it.

This is a great line. He says he knew he shouldn’t have slept with her, since now he’s starting to like her. She says, “So you did try to have me killed.” And he responds, “And that made me very sad, thinking I would never see you again.”

I love how attempted murder is basically foreplay for them.

Also, one thing I love that this film did – notice her back. The burn marks on her back. They never really bring them up. That is – they tell you how she got them, but they never really show you them at that moment. You just sort of see them there and then bring up the image later when you hear the story. This is why I like when storyteller directors take over Bond, because you get shit like this that isn’t spoon fed to the audience (like the fact that Port-au-Prince is in Haiti, which the MI6 guy just had to tell us, even though the title did it for us two minutes later).

These are always great moments. The “come with me” moments, where you know whatever he says is going to be obscure but also be totally understood as threatening. Case and point –

When he was 15, he had a crush on one of his mother’s piano students. He overheard the girl saying mean things about him. He got so angry, he took an iron –

And he doesn’t even finish the story. He doesn’t even need to. How fucking great is that?

He also has a great line here – “It’s such a shame, because he’s one of my best geologists.” THIS IS HOW YOU DELIVER EXPOSITION. Everyone knows what’s going on, and they found a subtle and entertaining way to do it. And they make you, the audience, feel smart. Amazing how simple it is.

He says the guy said Camille wanted to buy information off of him.

She says he offered to sell information to her. Why would she come back to him if she was lying?

“Because you love me.” God, I love how complex they made this relationship within minutes. Because you know neither one is genuine about what they’re saying. It’s like Bond being at the villain’s lair and being all cordial funneled into a relationship.

Let’s talk about Greene now.

TokyoRemix:

Shit, I had so much to say during that whole scene, but you covered it all. This is all exactly what I was thinking. Dominic Greene is a brilliant villain. Creepy, playful, and best of all — believable. He has no obvious henchmen in uniforms, no secret lair, no crazy vehicles or space stations or whatever. He’s just a rich guy who has a company engaged in philanthropic and environmental work. Who can hate him?

But he’s a member of Quantum, which is the new SPECTRE. They’re trying to gain world power by involving themselves in world finance and geopolitics. Greene is spearheading their project in Bolivia, which is actually a pretty cool one that they keep you in the dark about for some time. Just keep looking out for Greene. I know there’ll be a few creepy ass screen shots later on in the article. And what an ending! I was very pleased with this villain.

Here comes General Medrano, our secondary villain. We’ll talk about him later. He mostly only shows up now to let us know he’ll be important later. Like genital herpes.

Bond also goes up and hands them a card.

Universal Exports!

And uses it to figure out who the fuck they are. Nice.

Greene and Medrano basically discuss an overthrow of the Bolivian government. He’s the deposed leader of Brazil, and his organization is basically gonna help him and his men perform a coup, and they’re gonna pay off everyone to make sure it happens.

Basically Medrano is the criminal hood who goes around shooting up the town, and Greene and his organization are the lawyers who keep him out of trouble and cook up the books and shit to make it all run smoothly. It’s a nice pair, actually.

And all Greene’s organization wants in return of a desert. Medrano thinks it’s a great deal, since he thinks they’re looking for oil, and everyone’s looked there and haven’t found anything.

He then introduces Medrano to Camille. We can basically surmise that Medrano killed her father, but we’ll wait until the film tells us the details.

The great moment here is Greene telling Medrano to “drop her over the side when you’re done.”

I have to say – despite the fake tan, she looks good.

I like how one of Medrano’s henchmen is a cross between James Gandolfini and Rick Ross. (And don’t you dare tell me he’s not.)

TokyoRemix:

Spic Ross.

So they leave, and Bond –

Of course that’s their reaction. No one ever thinks it’s an accident.

She had a gun and was going to shoot Medrano, but Bond stopped her. She’s not happy.

Chase time.

Chase over.

TokyoRemix:

We see that Bond’s stolen boat is called Gardien des Etoiles, or “Keeper of the Stars”. Don’t know if that’s meant to signify anything, but it certainly sounds benevolent.

“Excuse me –”

“Thank you.”

That look can go one of two ways. I’ll leave it to your imagination which it is.

Hey look, a free car.

Time to call M. (I love that digital screen stuff they have going in this.)

They found him.

“Get me the Americans.”

Agent Gregory Beam says they have no interest in Greene. He’s lying, of course, since he’s the section chief of South America. And as M says, how would they know to transfer her to him unless they were tracking him?

She’s a sly devil, that Judi.

Felix!

I also love that Bond can just be like, “Here’s the plane number. Tell me where it’s going.” And they can figure it out and basically map out the next few minutes of plot while leaving these few open enough to develop.

So the CIA is meeting with Greene.

Felix doesn’t like them. Beam is having fun. That automatically means Bean is corrupt. (Again, I love how subtle, yet obvious they make it.)

TokyoRemix:

Felix feels the same way we do about Elvis, which is, “Why are you looking at me, stop looking at me right fucking now, you creepy piece of shit. I didn’t sign up for this.”

The agreement is that America do nothing to stop the coup, and in return they get a lease on the oil that’s found there.

TokyoRemix:

As an American, this scene kind of tickles me. That our end of the deal is to do nothing. We’re not supplying them or helping them. We’re just not fucking them up. I kinda love how it’s accepted all over the world that even a clandestine organization like Quantum needs to treat the US with caution.

Greene wants to know who this is.

Felix says he doesn’t recognize him.

“That’s James Bond, British secret service.” Well – he’s corrupt. Or just a dick.

So they’re in Austria. (I can’t even make a joke about it being somewhere else… it’s a fucking airport. It actually could be somewhere else.)

This is the face you assure children won’t come into their room and kill them in their sleep.

TokyoRemix:

This is a Jaguar XJ8, which I’ve noticed is kind of Quantum’s company car. Mr. White had one, as did Le Chiffre. And now Greene does, too. Car people are good to have around when you’re trying to link people.

“You know who Greene is and you want to put us in bed with him?”

“Yeah, you’re right, we should just deal with nice people.”

That line actually makes him seem like less of a dick. But then he says he needs to know Felix is “on the team.” So that’s right out the window.

So Bond is still tracking Greene, through Elvis’s cell phone.

TokyoRemix:

And just like the Jaguar (which was still owned by Ford at the time), Bond’s Volvo is technically part of the Ford Auto Group, so this S40 T5 is an excellent use of covert product placement. It fits.

They’re going to see Tosca.

Looks like someone’s a little underdressed.

“Where’s my suit?” (Fun fact: That’s Craig’s stunt double.)

There’s the suit.

Now survey the room – what’s going down?

Gift bags.

Gift bags from under the table.

And he went into the bathroom. Guess what that means?

Ah, an earpiece. I like how everything Craig’s Bond figures out is through detective work, instinct, and pure blind luck. He just sort of follows up leads, uses his skills to figure shit out, and also kind of happens upon stuff. It feels more like Connery than any of the other Bonds. The other ones, you just sort of knew they’d figure it out. Here, you know he doesn’t really know what he’s gonna find, and there’s the sense that we’re learning shit as we go along.

Opera time.

Now let’s find out who these fuckers are.

Problem is – we know Greene, but we don’t know who (or where) everyone else is.

So Bond just pipes up and says, “I really think you people should find a better place to meet.”

Bam. There they go.

And now we know who they are.

And look who’s there.

“Tosca isn’t for everyone.”

I love how he wisely doesn’t stand up. He knows better. This tiny moment made the character of Mr. White jump way up for me.

There’s Greene, getting the fuck out of there.

And there’s Bond.

Oh, you know what’s bout to happen.

They intercut it all with the Tosca performance, too. (Not exactly “London Calling,” is it, Die Another Day?)

Oh… you’re fucked.

Now Bond wants to know who he’s working for.

Man doesn’t want to tell him.

Very Spy Who Loved Me.

“Is he one of us?”

“No.”

“Then he shouldn’t be looking at me.”

That’s fucked up. That was a good guy the whole time.

Tanner – that’s Tanner, by the way – sees some fucked up shit and calls M.

BATHTUB SCENE!!! (When I saw this in theaters, and this image happened, the only thing you heard in the theater was me loudly shout, “YEEEEAAHHH!!”)

TokyoRemix:

Judi likes some candles going while she’s in the bath. Making a mental note.

Turns out, all the people there were really huge. As in, the last guy is the special envoy to the prime minister. (Oh, and they think Bond shot that guy, who was the envoy’s bodyguard.)

TokyoRemix:

It really bothers me that he didn’t even deny it. She even says, “You shot him point-blank and threw him off a roof.” Why wasn’t he like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. The roof, I did. Didn’t shoot him.”

Judi tells Bond he needs to come in. He’s pretty flippant about the guy’s death until she mentions that he shot him, and that the man is a member of special branch.

“So who was he guarding?” Oh, I like this Bond.

She says she needs him to come in. He says he would, “But now I need to find the man who tried to kill you. Go back to sleep.” I love that last line.

TokyoRemix:

These two have the best relationship of any Bond and M since Connery and Lee. Those two were fantastic, too. Connery telling stories about the two of them getting laid. “Well, once when I was with M in Tokyo, we had an interesting experience…”

Judi tells them to restrict Bond’s passports and “find out everything we don’t know about Haines.” (Haines is the envoy.)

Bond’s passport doesn’t work. He realizes why that is, so he makes flirty flirty with the woman at the desk, saying she’s gonna get a phone call. He wants to know if she can tell them he’s going to Cairo.

TokyoRemix:

This is one of those little moments that I really appreciate. Just like in Casino Royale when he breaks into Judi’s apartment and hacks her secure server, it’s showing that he’s a step ahead of his own people, too. You see him start to walk away, and then he’s like, “Oh yeah, they’ll probably have put a stop on my passport, which means….right.”

This is like batting practice for the magic dick.

That’s not Cairo!

Actually, it’s Talamone, Italy. You know who lives there?

TokyoRemix:

Somebody with a sweet pad and a 1964 Maserati Mistral parked out front. Someone’s got taste, and I mean like, serious taste. Get me one of these.

Mathis.

If you remember, at the end of Casino Royale, Bond thought Mathis was a double agent, so he had him captured and tortured. Turns out, Mathis was just a really good guy. So he’s a little bitter.

He tells his woman not to pour Bond any wine. “This man had me imprisoned and tortured, and you want to serve him fine wine?” He does it in Italian, so Bond doesn’t hear.

“You only buy cheap wine.”

The smile is everything.

TokyoRemix:

“Bitch, I’ll never forgive you for this.”

She also says that since he was innocent, they bought him this nice house, so really he owes Bond, doesn’t he?

I love Bond.

Bond needs a passport and some credit cards. Mathis is the only person he can trust.

Mathis brings up Vesper. Bond stonewalls him.

Mathis tells Bond what he knows about the photos (and sits down and takes the wine anyway. I guess they’re friends again).

Bond asks Mathis to come with him to Bolivia, since Mathis still has some contacts in South America. (What’s with Bond and getting people killed?)

There’s actually a really nice moment here where Bond asks Mathis to come with him, and we can see Mathis wanting to do it – there’s that rush of going back into active duty. And then his woman looks at him as she says she wants his hands on her skin (which is basically the ultimate set of reasons not to go into danger), and when she sees him, she knows what’s about to happen.

And then she looks over at Bond, who seemingly doesn’t care or isn’t aware that he’s leading a dude who is living the good life into a situation that will probably get him killed.

TokyoRemix:

This set of shots is amazing. Mathis, thinking about it, weighing his options as the woman calls him over. She looks at him, there’s that moment of realization in her face that Bond’s sold him on the job and that Mathis will be leaving. And now Bond’s throwing back all the rest of the wine. Because wine is for closers.

(Mike Note: The other implication is that Bond knew all the time that Mathis was going to come, which makes the shot work even better.)

So anyway, on the plane…

Bond is drinking. Heavily.

TokyoRemix:

What plane is this? They have planes like this that fly to Bolivia? I thought you still got to Bolivia by burro. But I want to fly on this plane.

(Mike Note: It’s Virgin again. Branson gives them the good shit.)

Mathis asks the bartender what Bond is drinking, he says –

“Three measures of Gordon’s gin, one of vodka, half a measure of kina lillet –”

Six of them.

By the way – ever wonder just how much six Vesper martinis totals in pure alcohol? Well, let’s break it down:

The martini itself is basically a drink of pure alcohol. The standard cocktail glass holds about 4.5 ounces of alcohol, which is three shots. A martini is made of about two and a half shots of gin (or vodka) and a half a shot of dry vermouth, plus garnish. Bond’s martini, as we know, is three measures of 100 proof gin (though today it’s about 90-proof), one measure of 100-proof vodka, and a half a measure of Lillet, which is about 34 proof. Altogether it’s 4.5 ounces of pure alcohol, and mostly strong alcohol at that. Six of those – 27 ounces of alcohol is about 800 ml. So Bond, in this scene, has already drank more than an entire fifth by himself.

(Note: Presumably, though, with Bond ordering three measures of gin, one of vodka and a half of lillet, one would think that he’s actually ordering 6.75 ounces a pop there. Unless the martini glasses are by standard bigger elsewhere in the world, I don’t see how that’s possible. But if he is, in fact, drinking out of bigger glasses, that’s 40.5 ounces of straight alcohol, that’s just about 1.2 liters’ worth. Which, if you’ve seen one of those bigger 1.5L bottles, that’s 80% of that. Either way, dude is fucked up.)

TokyoRemix:

Note: Mike’s a trained bartender. Did you get that from these paragraphs? He also made this drink specially for people at my 21st birthday party. I had two, and that was quite a buzz.

(Mike Note: “Trained bartender” just means alcoholic. Anyone who’s been around booze long enough is a trained bartender. It’s like that joke Pacino makes in Scent of a Woman, tells them to replace everything at the bar with John Daniels. And Chris O’Donnell is like, “Don’t you mean Jack Daniels?” and Pacino’s like, “He may be Jack to you, son, but when you’ve known him as long as I have…”)

They have a really nice heart to heart here. Sort of.

Bond says he wonders why Mathis agreed to come with him.

Mathis says, “It takes something to admit that you were wrong.”

He then offers him a sleeping pill, or any kind of pill, which Bond doesn’t want. It’s a nice conversation about Vesper that’s not actually about Vesper.

Meanwhile… in Bolivia…

(Sundance Kid Note: Bolivia?)

(Butch Cassidy Note: Bolivia.)

TokyoRemix:

Bolivia hasn’t changed much since then, has it?

Bond is met by Fields. “Just Fields.”

Her orders are to put him on the first plane back to London.

I love how amused the two of them are during this entire scene.

“Do those orders include my friend Mathis?”

“I’m sorry, I don’t know who you are.”

“See that? Gone such a short time, and already forgotten.”

“You’re just saying that to hurt me.”

“Mr. Bond, these orders come from the highest possible authority.”

“Taxi! Fields, when is the next flight to London?”

“Tomorrow morning.”

“Well, then we have all night.”

“If you attempt to flee, I will arrest you, drop you off at jail and take you to the plane in chains. Understand?”

“Perfectly. After you.”

“I think she has handcuffs.”

“You hope so.”

They go to the hotel where Fields has a reservation.

“What the fuck is this shithole?”

“You’re going nowhere.”

“So shoot me. I’d rather stay in a morgue.”

“We are teachers on sabbatical. This fits our cover.”

Reaction shots are the key to comedy.

How can you not love this Bond?

Compare her reaction to his.

There go the keys –