<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga. Starring Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Rami Malek, Jeffrey Wright, Ana de Armas, Billy Magnussen, David Dencik, Ralph Fiennes, Christoph Waltz, Ben Whishaw

Though I’ve never really like the dull and dry way in which Daniel Craig portrays James Bond I think this final film manages to stay engaging purely because of his focus and serious performance even though the script and story are pretty ridiculous.

When you go to see a Bond film there are certain things you expect: gadgets, bullet-proof cars, chases, hot girls who can kick-ass, explosions, weird villains and saving the world. No Time To Die has all of this and even though it’s probably one of the slowest and arguably dullest Bond films ever, it manages to grip you with the depth of emotions, the sharp seriousness and deft dialogue delivery of Daniel Craig and the realisation that it’s time for James Bond, as we know him, to die. It’s bitter-sweet in a way but we all know this is a franchise that has far outlived its welcome. As sinewy as Craig is, the receding hairline and wrinkles are hard to hide, and they shouldn’t be hidden anyway.

Léa Seydoux and Daniel Craig in No Time To Die

After being ‘betrayed’ by Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), Bond decides to give up women and just live by himself far away from everything. Unfortunately, the evil SPECTRE rear their ugly heads again and the CIA need a retired Bond’s help to retrieve a scientist and his deadly nanobots that can target DNA and kill by being spread quite like a pandemic would. And thus starts his journey of realisation that family and trust can be something he can have finally, that his life (and all the Bonds that have come before him) have been cliches that deserve a bit of mocking and certainly need to be brought upto date.

Inspite of No Time To Die’s attempt at being politically correct and introducing a new female 007 called Nomi (Lashana Lynch), this is a very male dominated film. Even making Q (Ben Whishaw) queer is a blink-and-miss story point introduced just for the sake of ‘diversity in film’. There’s one exception though. Ana de Armas as agent Paloma is simply sensational in her brief appearance as Bond’s mission sidekick. She exudes charm, wit, energy, vivaciousness, intelligence and relevance. That whole scene with the two of them at the SPECTRE ‘party of death’ was worth the price of admission.

He may be old and grey but boy can he fill out that suit!

Same can’t be said for Christoph Waltz as boring Blofeld in his bit scene that reminds one of Magneto’s plastic/glass prison in X-Men or even Anthony Hopkins from Silence of the Lambs. But far less impressive. Waltz is one of those actors who gets a lot of praise but is definitely overrated as he is always just himself in every film. But at least he’s dependable and predictably good. Rami Malek’s crazy, over-the-top villain Safin is at times incoherent and at others simply ludicrous. His motives are never clear and the secret island where they’re making the liquid thing that has the nanobots makes little sense as it kills off people who fall into it; but it’s supposed to just kill people based on the DNA fed into it right? No idea.

Craig and Ana de Armas in the films scene-stealer

No Time To Die has its poignant moments, it manages to take itself seriously inspite of the silly things happening all around. Daniel Craig’s steely demeanour lend that air of seriousness and sophistication. Some will find this film slow and boring, others may be touched somewhat by Craig’s performance. He knows this is the end of the road, he’s ready for it but there’s a hint of sadness that pervades the film. Who knows what will come after this, whether Henry Cavill will be the next 007, or Idris Elba or maybe Ana de Armas. Perhaps it’s time to retire James Bond, the man and the name.


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