Film Review – No Time To Die

No Time To Die (M)

Directed by: Cary Joji Fukunaga

Starring: Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Rami Malek

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Review by: Julian Wright

The hype has been real for Daniel Craig’s final appearance as British spy James Bond, perpetuated even further with numerous COVID related delays. As if fans weren’t clambering hard enough for his fifth and final turn as the iconic, super smooth and philandering character (and the 25th appearance of the character in the series – big milestones here), we had to wait a gruelling 19 months! So, the biggest question that inevitably built up over the last almost two years is, is it worth the wait?

James Bond (Daniel Craig) is enjoying a blissful getaway with his lover Madeleine (Lea Seydoux) in Italy, when he is attacked at the site of former love of his life Vespa’s grave. Convinced Madeliene tipped off Spectre as to his whereabouts, the pair split up and Bond goes into hiding.

Five years later he is drawn out of retirement and back into espionage when an MI6 scientist Valdo Obruchev (David Dencik) is taken by force with a highly classified bio weapon that targets particular DNA – developed under M’s guidance (Ralph Fiennes).

This brings Bond face to face once again with Madeleine, opening old wounds, his replacement Nomi (Lashana Lynch) and the diabolical Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek), who has a history with Madeleine.

Craig era Bond had taken the series into grittier territory, going light on the cheese factor and with an emphasis on striking imagery (they are some of the best looking in the series). No Time To Die does not stray from the new look and feel that was established with 2006’s Casino Royale, when Craig first stepped into the role, but it delivers a consistently thrilling and satisfying conclusion to the era.

Those are die-hard fans of the series, and those who have only just picked it up since 2006, may even find themselves moved to a tear or two by the film’s conclusions – and at two and a half hours, it does take its time getting there.

But not only does the character sink his last signature martini for a while, he does so with additional layers and vulnerabilities revealed that the series has never dared to show up until now.

Familiar characters pop up without getting their own closure and new characters range from fun (Ana de Armas as a wide eyed newbie spy is fabulous but all too fleeting) to perfunctory (Lynch gets no room to move or develop).

Ultimately, despite it sticking fairly close to a formula, No Time To Die was worth the wait, and a great excuse to head back to the cinema.

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