REVIEW: No Time To Die
With Daniel Craig's final outing finally released, does the man dubbed 'the best James Bond ever' get the ending he deserves?
OCTOBER 4th, 2021
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga | Cert: 12A | Runtime: 2h 43m
here’s a lot to be said about Daniel Craig’s tenure as the world’s most iconic spy James Bond. Upon the announcement that the blonde haired, blue-eyed British actor would be taking over the historic part, it’s fair to say that the James Bond experts weren’t overtly keen. 007 firstly wasn’t blonde, neither did he have blue eyes - the movies were therefore doomed. Four films on from his first outing in Casino Royale, Craig has demonstrated time and again that the critics were wrong, and the latest James Bond film No Time To Die, proves it once and for all.
Daniel Craig’s departure from the role that has made him a household name was never meant to end with No Time To Die. Spectre was scheduled to be the concluding episode of Craig’s occupancy of James Bond. Yet thanks to supreme producer Barbara Broccoli, she felt the actor had “one more in him”, and Craig agreed. Thank goodness he did, for No Time To Die is the ending Daniel Craig has earnt as James Bond.
It’s a unique take on the classic spy. And whilst some traditionalists may find the new approach too “woke”, ultimately history will judge them as the minute and ridiculous minority. So, for those who may feel conflicted in whether they want to see their beloved Bond in a new millennial inspired outing, which sacrifices the traditional elements that made the legendary spy the character he is today - don’t be, as you won’t see any of those things here. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga injects the opulence of Goldfinger with the romance of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, taking the best elements of each film and willingly driving them in new directions.
No Time To Die is quintessential James Bond, from its spectacular and lavish surface, right the way through to its emotional and human centre. The character’s DNA is embellished with every Aston Martin, tuxedo, martini - shaken not stirred, and of course Daniel Craig’s effortless and deeply moving performance. This is his film, and he quite simply nails it. As do the other actors who bring Craig’s final outing as the spy to a satisfying conclusion.
Lashana Lynch as the brand new 007 Nomi is a fitting rival for Bond and frequently steals every scene she is in. Ironically, there were similar criticisms of the actress that once faced Daniel Craig. Firstly a 007 agent couldn’t be a woman, let alone a black woman - “this was wokeness in overdrive” were the cries from disgruntled fans. The reality of those criticisms weren’t embedded in anti-wookness, but simple, blatant racism. And Lynch rightly and justly follows in the footsteps of the 007 before her, she has proved every nonsensical critic wrong. She shines in the movie, and signals a confident and efficient new entry into the world of James Bond.
Ana de Armas is listed as No Time To Die’s other Bond girl and although her part in the story is criminally short, she excels as Paloma, a fellow spy employed to help Bond as he infiltrates a secret party for the criminal syndicate Spectre. Léa Seydoux returns as Madeleine and quickly becomes Bond’s human arc throughout the movie, both breaking and mending his heart.
And ultimately that’s what sets No Time To Die apart from most of the other Bond movies - heart. Daniel Craig injects a humanity into the once inhuman character. He can hurt, grieve, forgive and nurture, there is a complexity to Bond which we’ve never really seen before. That complexity is tested against Rami Malek’s villainous Safin - who is eerily terrifying and unrelenting in his pursuit to complete his horrifying agenda - one which is aptly relevant for a COVID-19 world.
No Time To Die was always insisted as Daniel Craig’s final curtain call as James Bond, although some fans continued to question whether that was so - put simply, those fans are wrong. This is Craig’s James Bond ending and it is both equally heartwarming and heartbreaking. With Hans Zimmer’s breathtaking score swirling into the echelons of emotional grandeur, we watch the final moments of Daniel Craig’s James Bond with both satisfaction and tears. It is a fitting end for the blonde haired and blue-eyed man who proved everyone wrong, and more so, bestowed the film industry’s greatest ever spy “all the time in the world”.
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