No Time To Die (2021)

No Time To Die has finally been released and is no doubt one of the most anticipated films of the year. Marking Daniel Craig’s final outing as MI6 agent James Bond, there has been a lot of excitement for this film to come out and following numerous delays, it was definitely worth the wait. Not only does this film serve as Craig’s swansong to the franchise, but we also get to see a completely different side to the character that we haven’t been shown in the film’s history. Following on from the events of 2015’s Spectre, No Time To Die sees Bond enjoying a life of retirement with Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) before tragedy strikes and he is brought back into the fold as Swann’s life is at stake. The film stars a slew of familiar faces including Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter and Ralph Fiennes as M as well as emerging stars such as Lashana Lynch as new 007 agent, Nomi and Ana de Armas as CIA agent, Paloma. The result of which is a film that merges the past and the future of franchise in a way that makes it exciting for what direction subsequent films will take under a new Bond.

The film is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga who does a fantastic job showing Bond’s inner turmoil as he has to deal with the conflict between wanting to retire and live his life and his moral compass which leads him to follow through with the mission. The script is written by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade who have scripted each Bond film since 1999 as well as rewrites penned by Fukunaga and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. It’s easy to see where Waller-Bridge has added her flawless touch of wit and characterisation as we see the primary and supporting characters in a different light that makes them more relatable and relevant. In particular, we see an emotional side to Bond as he begins to be seen in a familial light and not just a heart-throb who sleeps with every woman he meets. Where Bond has previously completed his missions because it is his job and the right thing to do, he actually has a personal reason to complete this one now.

Daniel Craig’s performance as Bond could arguably be his best because we see this emotional side to the character which gives Craig more to play with than he previously has done before in the franchise. What makes Craig such a memorable Bond is his impeccable delivery and believability in the character which undoubtedly has helped reinvigorate the franchise and push it into the 21st century with ease. As this is his last Bond outing, there is more emphasis on Bond as a character and specifically his interpretation of Bond which means we get to see a grittier and more violent turn of events that rounds up his tenure perfectly.

Léa Seydoux returns as Madeleine Swann and acts as the emotional anchor for Bond. Swann’s character isn’t simply to stand and look pretty, as has been the case of many Bond girls of the past, as she is given complete agency in this film. Realistically, she doesn’t have the same training or fighting skills as Bond which is understandable but we are able to see her fight back in different ways. Seydoux has become renowned for her ability to provide subtly emotional performances and No Time To Die gives her more room to play with than Spectre which is great to see.

It wouldn’t be a Bond film if there wasn’t a Bond villain and in this case, we have Rami Malek as Lyutsifer Safin, a terrorist hellbent on developing and mass-producing a bioweapon that spreads by touch. On appearance, Safin may look like the classic Bond villain but there is an intelligence that this character has that makes him unlike any villain that Bond has come across before, especially Craig’s Bond. What makes Safin such a terrifying character is that he is completely fearless which means that he is unpredictable in his actions whilst also being ruthless and seemingly heartless as well. Where Bond has managed to tap into his emotional side, Safin is incapable of doing so because he is so focused on his tragic past.

One of the main things that characterise a Bond film is its theme tune. With past performers including the likes of Shirley Bassey, Duran Duran and Adele, it was important to recruit a great performer who could capture the magic of the film and there are few artists who are more recognisable today than Billie Eilish. Eilish’s titular song mixes her signature soft vocals with a dramatic backing track that is expected of Bond films. It may seem like an odd pairing at first but the song works perfectly within the tone of the film as there is a melancholic feeling with added cinematic tones underneath. The score is composed by Hans Zimmer who was hired last minute after Dan Romer dropped out due to creative differences and he manages to merge classic Zimmer sounds with a sleek Bond feel. Pieces such as the film’s climactic scene are signature Zimmer with slow strings to draw out the emotion of the scene and allow the viewer to take in the emotions of the character perfectly while the fast action scenes feel inherently Bond and work well within the franchise. Zimmer can always be expected to do a fantastic job no matter what film he is tasked to score but it would have been wonderful to hear what Romer had in mind for the film as he has proven to be a fantastic composer who is destined for greatness.

Overall, No Time To Die is not only worth the wait, but it marks a new direction for Bond as we see 007 in a completely new light that feels exciting and refreshing. Showing that there is space for Bond in today’s world, the film thrusts Bond into modern times by incorporating representation, emotion and a complex character who is more than his well-fitted tux and charm. This is sure to be looked back fondly as a strong point in the franchise and gives Craig the ending that he deserves after a fantastic turn as one of film’s most beloved characters.

What did you think of No Time to Die? Let me know in the comments below!

No Time To Die is available to watch in cinemas now!


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