No Time To Die Film Review

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'No Time To Die' 'No Time To Die'

‘No Time To Die’ comes touted as the final 'James Bond' film with Daniel Craig in the role and it seems the stewards of the franchise intend to take their time exiting the era.

This is a beast of a film, narratively speaking there are multiple villains, side excursions, twists upon twists and that is before we get to the major reveal. Unwieldy though it may be, the 25th Bond cinematic adventure also boasts a lived-in quality, scenes have room to breathe, dialogue flows naturally and after 14 years with some of these actors, there is weight to their exchanges.

We find James Bond retired in Jamaica where he is asked to come back into the fold to help out old CIA friend Felix Leiter on a mission to Cuba. This is a nice call back to the original film ‘Dr No.’ where Bond met Felix in Jamaica. There are all sorts of call backs and Easter eggs like that throughout for fans, without impeding the storytelling. We have never seen Bond retired, it’s interesting to observe the character in a new state and it is a series of firsts for the fictional world that the movie gradually reveals.

Daniel Craig seems to be revelling in the part, buffed up again after cutting a slimmer figure in ‘Spectre’, fashionably attired and enjoying the new beats his character gets to play. He’s ably supported by returning faces like Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomie Harris as Miss Moneypenny, Ben Whishaw as Q, Christoph Waltz as Blofeld, and Jeffrey Wright as Felix.

Lea Seydoux, who was really good in ‘Spectre’ but struggled to create the same chemistry Daniel and Eva Green had, gets a little more to do here and remains just as strong. Lashana Lynch and Ana De Armas both delight as new agents with different personalities. The whole sequence with Ana De Armas arguably could be jettisoned, but proves so enjoyable that I believe it lays the blueprint for how to do 'Bond' in the wake of Daniel’s departure. Rami Malek as villain Lyutsifer Safin is completely unnerving but with a hint of sympathy in his backstory.

The actors seem to be having a great time in scenes that evoke just another day at the office. Scenes where M debriefs 007, which previously played like familiar beats in a routine, now seem alive, with characters genuinely bouncing off each other with the possibility that anything could happen. Part of this must be attributed to Phoebe Waller-Bridge helping out regular screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, in a similar way that Paul Haggis livened up ‘Casino Royale’ and John Logan did ‘Skyfall’.

It could be argued the script is overstuffed with too many characters and could use some trimming. One villain could have stood in for two, one or two scenes don’t feed into the larger overall theme, and yet, wouldn’t that rob the picture of some of its unpredictability?

Action-wise, Cary Joji Fukunaga gives us new set pieces that can stand aside the classics from the series, particularly the opening in Matera, Italy. There are plenty of shots that recall his achievements as director of Season 1 of ‘True Detective’ and he has certainly made a beautiful looking film on location that makes you feel the scope of this world.

Hans Zimmer seems to be having fun doing a 'Bond' score, and there are nice callbacks to earlier entries, although sadly the title song from such an exciting artist as Billie Eilish fails to register.

Pierce Brosnan gave us four Bonds in seven years and now Daniel has given us five in double that amount of time. It feels both, conversely, that it was all too fleeting, and yet so much time has passed. Time and how well you use it is not just given lip service in this film, it is poignantly what the movie is all about. It's nice to be given the opportunity to say goodbye to the actor in the role with one last swan song, there is a moment near the end when Daniel says, “I know”, and in that moment you can’t help but feel gratitude for all he has brought to the role.

‘No Time To Die’ is Daniel Craig’s final 'James Bond' film. He goes out on his terms, and on a high note.

‘No Time To Die’ opens in cinemas 11 November.



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