BOND #25: NO TIME TO DIE (2021) – An atypical Bond movie for Daniel Craig’s swan song


Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

NO TIME TO DIE, from left: Daniel Craig as James Bond, Lea Seydoux, 2021. ph: Nicola Dove / © MGM / © Danjaq / Courtesy Everett Collection

Daniel Craig’s final movie as James Bond, Bond #25, No Time To Die is finally here after multiple delays since last April 2020. For me, my expectations for this has been kept high over the past 18 months from the multiple viewings of its trailers, and the usual hype that accompanies each new Bond installment. No Time To Die is a significant entry to the series because it will bring Daniel Craig’s portrayal of Bond to a closure before the baton is handed over to another actor selected to continue to play this iconic role of super agent 007.

Like all Bond movies, this one starts off with an opening gambit that includes stunning visuals (this time in the form of a photogenic coastal town in Italy), and mind blowing stunts. It is a little different in that it actually includes two timelines within its rather lengthy pre-opening credits portion. It is so tightly filmed and engaging that it felt almost like a movie within a movie. Without doubt the opening were the film at its strongest. It stylishly ends with the introduction of the Billie Eillish’s haunting ballot. Sadly the rest of the movie never manages to match the intensity and urgency that was so well captured. There seem to be too much time spent talking and too little time for the elaborate action set pieces that we have been so accustomed to get. This despite the film’s record running length of 2 hours 43 minutes! Thankfully the script did not forget to inject the usual brand of Bond laced humour in the process. In addition to the usual supporting players in the form of M, Q and Moneypenny, two femme fatale agents are introduced. The rather efficient new double 0 agent, played by Lashana Lynch and a feisty and sexy new agent, Paloma played by Ana de Armas who sadly only got to appear in one fight scene. In an atypical James Bond manner, he neither made advances or any sexist remarks to both these women! Rami Malek plays the villain but I have to say his character Safin was all talk and threatening, rather than truly menacing. I think his henchmen were far more destructive and merciless when they were carrying out his orders.

Han Zimmer who did such a great job recently with the Dune soundtrack score once again stole some of the limelight from the movie with his beautiful composition here which includes a mixture of the old Bond score as well as some new material. Most pleasant of all was the inclusion of the haunting ballad from one of my favourite Bond movies, On The Majesty’s Secret Secret (OHMSS), “We Have All The Time In The World”. In fact much of the tenderness and romantic theme that resonated with OHMSS is also very much present here. Like OHMSS, No Time To Die ends up being unusually sentimental which is a big departure from the usual style we have been accustomed to by Daniel Craig.

I have to say that I did not see the film’s ending coming and it was a surprise to me. It left me with mixed emotions as it made me feel angry but yet felt appropriate and to some extent, inevitable. It left me thinking about it long after the credits have rolled with Louis Armstrong singing “You Have All The Time In The World” … With Daniel Craig’s departure from the series, we look forward to a new era for 007 with s new actor for the iconic role. He or she have a tough act to follow.

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