#REVIEW: “NO TIME TO DIE”
Review by George Kozera for Mr. Will Wong
Some things are just worth waiting for. NO TIME TO DIE was eagerly awaited as it was purported to be the last time we’d see Daniel Craig in the iconic role. And, I say this as a casual fan of the Franchise, it was definitely worth the wait. To honour the sheer joy I experienced watching this Movie, this just may be the shortest plot synopsis I had ever written as watching the many events unfold in breathless scene after scene is the reason we all love (and miss) the Cinema.
After narrowly escaping an assassination attempt when she was a teenager, we first see the adult Madeleine (Léa Seydoux) happy in her relationship with Bond somewhere in the most sensual city on the Italian coast. On a casual drive (in an Aston Martin, of course) they are attacked by Spectre agents, which they outwit and survive, though Bond is convinced that Madeleine gave away his location as she was the only person who knew where he was and it’s bye-bye Maddie and don’t let the door smack you on your behind. Fast-forward five years and the ex-British Intelligence Officer is enjoying his retirement in Jamaica taking showers in the glorious outdoors when he is contacted by Felix (Jeffrey Wright), a CIA operative who tells him about a scientist, with ties to Spectre, who has codes to a biological weapon has gone missing. Bond is quickly back in London with M (Ralph Fiennes), Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw). He also meets Nomi (Lashana Lynch) a new agent who has inherited his 007 code number. There we have it – the new 007 is a powerful and intelligent Black woman. And that’s all you’re getting from me – no time for spoilers!
NO TIME TO DIE has everything you expect from a Bond movie. The glorious landscapes, the breathless and relentless action sequences, the tuxedo, the gadgets, hearing the famous “shaken, not stirred” line and the way he introduces himself. We see the return of a Bond nemesis, Blofeld (Christoph Waltz, deliciously creepy). At one point, Bond hooks up with Paloma (the supremely gorgeous and badass Ana de Armas) in a fight sequence at an event overflowing with Spectre agents that is so spectacular and laced with the perfect amount of humour that I was transfixed throughout and hoped (to no avail) to see her again. Director Cary Fukunaga infuses an Asian Zen quality throughout, especially in its portrait of the latest Bond villain, Safin. As played by Oscar winner Rami Malek, it is probably the most laconic of Bond baddies and I am not quite sure if it works but I was intrigued whenever Safin was onscreen. Multiple Emmy winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag) adds punch and genuine wit to the screenplay where traditionally the one-liners in the previous features would elicit groans. I can only assume she also worked on making Q’s sexuality and Moneypenny’s loyalty a “no brainer” without unneeded exposition.
The Cinematography is outstanding as are the impressive art and set decorations and directions. Hans Zimmer is in his musical element with a sweeping Score interspersed with familiar musical pieces from the Bond playbook. And by now, if you haven’t heard Billie Eilish‘s Grammy-winning theme song, let me introduce you to the year 2021!
Then there’s Daniel Craig. In a perfect awards season world, his work in NO TIME TO DIE would garner him proper consideration. Not to diminish the fine work from his predecessors, Craig brings an inner turmoil quality that is gut-wrenching. Sure, he’s “dudelicious” in a bathing suit and at once the gold standard of perfection in a tux. However, it is in the quiet, reflective moments when the pain is more than Bond can deal with at the moment, and this is where Craig truly shines.
At 165 minutes (the longest Bond movie ever), it may deter some from seeing it, but I was never bored and, more importantly, I never fidgeted in my seat. Whereas it doesn’t completely match the masterpiece that SKYFALL was, it misses that mark fractionally.
Oh…did I forget to mention the MANY shocks and surprises that you will discover while being transfixed watching NO TIME TO DIE? Good!!!
Universal Pictures Canada release NO TIME TO DIE Wednesday, October 6, 2021.
*Please ensure you exercise caution in observing COVID-19 protocols if seeing this in-theatre*