FILM: No Time to Die (2021, Cary Joji Fukunaga)

No Time to Die poster.jpg

No Time to Die is the 25th film in the James Bond franchise, and Daniel Craig’s fifth and final outing as the iconic MI6 Agent. Five years after bringing down Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) and splitting up with Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), Bond has retired to Jamaica. There he is approached by his old friend Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) – a CIA Agent who persuades him to come out of retirement for one last job. Upon reuniting with his former colleagues at MI6 and learning that he will have to do some work with Madeleine, Bond begins investigating terrorist leader Safin (Rami Malek), who has a historic connection to Madeleine.

PROS

  • Director Cary Joji Fukunaga does an excellent job, helming a slick and intense narrative, deftly crafting the moments of tension and suspense, and choreographing the action sequences magnificently, for which he favours long takes that are spectacularly well executed.
  • An altogether strong narrative, which takes the classic Bond formula of taking on terrorists to ultimately save countless lives and plays with it very well by making this a follow-on to the previous Daniel Craig films (to which there are very clear and logical links), and give it greater emotional stakes for Bond due to Madeleine’s role.
  • Daniel Craig gives his best Bond performance yet, throwing himself into the role physically and nailing his comedic moments as ever, but gives the iconic spy a brooding intensity and the sense of a man who has ultimately been worn down and significantly aged by his experiences.
  • A solid supporting cast, with Léa Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Christoph Waltz and Jeffrey Wright giving memorable reprisals of their roles, whilst Rami Malek is sinister as Safin (aided by some impressive make-up), and Ana de Armas and Lashana Lynch throw themselves into their roles wonderfully.
  • A visually spectacular film, with cinematographer Linus Sandgren doing a terrific job (many of his shots having a wonderful painterly quality), consistently slick editing by Elliot Graham and Tom Cross, outstanding practical effects that are complimented well by CGI (which is used as minimally as possible), and some fantastic stunt work.

CONS

  • Poor handling of the antagonists – Rami Malek’s Safin is sidelined rather too much and definitely not utilised to his full potential, Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld is clearly primarily there for fan service, and Billy Magnussen’s Logan Ash is unthreatening and his arc ends too abruptly.
  • There are a few scenes which are a little rushed and, like some of the character arcs, end just slightly too abruptly, and some supporting cast members could do with some screen time.

VERDICT: 8/10

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