Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Stars: Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Rami Malek
RATING: 5 Stars
Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.—Universal Pictures
After delay upon delay, No Time To Die finally hit UK cinemas at midnight. With the less than completely enthusiastic reception that it’s predecessor, Spectre, received, and with my general apathy towards the Daniel Craig era, no one is more surprised than I am with my rating of this film. I was hoping, as this was going to be the finale of a four movie story arc, and Craig’s farewell to the character, that it was going to be a knockout, but I didn’t expect it to be this much of a knockout!
Bon movies in general are absolutely no stranger to great action sequences, and Craig’s Bond in particular has never been afraid to really get in there with his fists and ass some real physicality to the action. This film has some of my favourite action pieces from this era, including an excellently shot stairwell fight sequence that was both technically impressive, and nail-bitingly tense. Throw in some classic car chases, some high tech gadgets, and explosions a plenty, and you get James Bond in a nutshell, and it’s a formula that has worked well for so many years. But if you saw my review of Spectre I posted a couple of weeks ago, you will have seen I was finding this formula getting a little tired, and that over the previous three movies, I was beginning to lose my love of the franchise.
Although all the main trappings are there in this film, as I say above, this film also has a second emotional storyline that really packs a good few punches in here. Not only do we get a slightly fresher feeling film, but we get to see Bond undergo some actual character development, something we pretty much haven’t seen in the last 60 years of the character. And it could not have come a moment too soon for me. The actual spy storyline has been said to be unnecessarily complicated and therefore drags the runtime out a little too long and yes, I can partially agree with that. At it’s bare bones. Safin’s plan is relatively simple, and they do take their sweet time setting everything up. But this time isn’t wasted, it is this time that allows for that character development I was talking about, so I wouldn’t say the runtime is too long.
The cast from this film is stacked from top to bottom with some of the best British talent there is. Daniel Craig brings his best performance as Bond here. The greater emotional range of the character here, as well as the emotionally mature storyline mean that he could show sides of the character he hasn’t got to before. This is the performance of his I will remember from his run, and it is completely outstanding. Opposite him, Lea Seydoux does just as good of a job. Raw, emotional, she had me completely sold. Their chemistry together onscreen is amazing, and a love story I was uninterested in when I watched Spectre became an integral part of my enjoyment of this film.
All the classic side characters return of course. Moneypenny and Q being my favourites, and along with Bond himself create the best chaotic trio I have seen a long time. Nomi is a new introduction to this cast of well established characters and while it was great to finally see a woman in a position of power in this franchise, I do think her character had some of the weakest writing, which is a bit disappointing.
I obviously wont talk about the ending here, that would be a real dick move, I will say it isn’t what I expected, but I am satisfied with how it ended, and it’s one that will stay with me for a long time.
No Time to Die is FINALLY out in UK cinemas now!