No Time To Die – Film Review

James Bond has been a cinematic institution for almost sixty years. We all have our favourite films and actors who have played Bond the British Secret Service’s epic spy within the 007 universe. Daniel Craig is my favourite. Over the past 18 months, No Time To Die has had many delays and received criticism for not being released on streaming services. I am extremely thankful that the team behind this film decided to wait to release it during a time when everyone around the world could see it in theatres. Not only is No Time To Die the 25th film of the James Bond Universe, it is also Daniel Craig’s final performance.

Following on directly after the events of the previous film, Spectre, James Bond and Madeleine Swann, portrayed by Léa Seydoux, are driving through the Italian countryside in James’ classic Aston Martin DB5. Seemingly living their best post-retirement lives, Bond and Swann are looking to move on from their chequered pasts. However, it all goes awry when a group of Spectre assassins seek them out and a thrilling chase ensues. To say I was on the edge of my seat would be an understatement. The events that led to this chase really caught me off guard, and I found myself both worried and excited for what was to come next. Next to the parkour chase in Casino Royale, this sequence is phenomenal. Barely escaping with their lives and after some pivotal plot points, the film cuts to five years in the future. And that’s where the real fun begins…

Everything about this film is incredible. I believe that this is largely due to the Daniel Craig Bond films being built around a centralised plot, as opposed to the previous self-contained style Bond films. Although each film has its own main plot, there is the underlying story of Spectre in all of them. No other James Bond film has done it like this, and producer Barbara Broccoli should be commended for beautifully tying each of the Daniel Craig films together, with No Time To Die as the icing on the cake.

It was so pleasing to see many of the characters return for this final film and they are all brilliant in their respective roles; everyone’s favourite CIA Agent, Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), Bond’s leading lady Dr. Madeleine Swan (Léa Seydoux). MI6 Leader ‘M’ (Ralph Finnes), the quirky Quartermaster ‘Q’ (Ben Whishaw), Miss Money Penny (Naomie Harris), and Bill Tanner (Rory Kinnear). While familiar faces do return, there are also two new female characters. Firstly, Ana de Armas as the fly-kicking, stunningly beautiful Agent Paloma. After seemingly only having a few weeks field training, she kicks ass like a seasoned professional. I really hope that future Bond flicks will reintroduce this character because her screen time was quite limited, and I was left wanting more. Then there is the introduction of MI6’s new 00 in Nomi portrayed by Lashana Lynch. Admittedly, I was hesitant and found her a bit unwelcoming, but her character grew on me. She’s sassy and has the skills to boot. A notable mention to David Dencik as MI6 scientist, Valdo Obruchev. I found him surprisingly hilarious and seemingly carefree.

A James Bond film wouldn’t be complete without the perfect villain. This came as a two-pronged attack with the return of Christoph Waltz’s character, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. There is just something about how Waltz develops his characters that I absolutely adore and having him return was an absolute treat. The main villain though, is Rami Malek as antagonist, Safin. Malek’s portrayal of the deranged and incredibly dangerous villain is a sight to behold. He has a cool, calm, and collected tone in his voice that somewhat had me sympathising with him. As his plot slowly unravels, so does his deranged demeaner, carefully transforming him an incredibly formidable foe. This role perfectly showcases the range that Malek has as an actor, quickly matching up to Christoph Waltz’s mastery.

And of course, there is Daniel Craig. Craig put his heart and soul into his final outing as James Bond and hands down, No Time To Die is clearly his best portrayal of the character to date. Many of his character’s stunts were done by himself and it just boosts his performance to that next level, giving the audience more of a sense of realism and equal appreciation. The film feels like a love letter from Craig to all the dedicated James Bond fans around the world. I really hope that this final performance brings him in some awards, because boy, does he deserve them!

No Time To Die is now one of my favourite Bond films of all time and is up there as the best film I have seen in recent years. There is so much to love about this film: the action, the quirky and cheesy one-liners, the suspense and the heartbreak are all rolled up into an almost three-hour package. Don’t let the run time put you off though, as in no way does the film ever feel long or drawn out. It’s smart, it’s consistent, it’s thorough and it’s perfectly paced. With direction by Cary Joji Fukunaga, stunningly flawless cinematography by Linus Sandgren, and a cracking score from the one and only Hans Zimmer, married together with the most stylish costuming, flashy accessories, beautiful vehicles, incredible special effects, and the best death-defying stunts that money can buy (and pull-off), No Time To Die is pure perfection.

No Time To Die is thrilling, clever, dynamic, gut-wrenching, bloody brilliant and it 100% deserves a cinematic experience for your first time. I loved it and I cannot wait to see it again.

No Time To Die is finally in Australian cinemas now.

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