No Time To Die
One character that has been famous throughout the history of cinema is James Bond – 007. No matter if someone has seen the movies in this series or not, the name Bond, James Bond is echoed since 25 films. Yes, the legacy is massive and the character Bond has always been macho, quirky, over the top, who expresses less but since 2006, it changed a bit with the emergence of Daniel Craig as James Bond. Craig is the most human Bond till now and personally my favourite too. He is relatable and vulnerable despite of being everything all the previous Bonds were. A flawed protagonist who expresses it all.
It all started with Casino Royale in 2006, where Craig was crowned as the new Bond. Many people suspected about him being the next Bond, but I must tell you, Craig just cruised as royally as Casino Royale was. He made a statement right from the word go and told the world; he was here to stay. After 15 years of Craig’s journey as Bond from Casino Royale to Quantum of Solace to Skyfall to Spectre and the journey has now taken a halt at his final project as Bond – No time to die.
No time to die is a continuation to Bond’s previous instalment, which was Spectre. The film starts with an extravagant aerial shot over the snowy region and a man walking through it. He has a mask on his face which is bit haunting at the same time seeks something. His name is Safin who wants to kill Madeleine’s father, Blofield. He wanted to take his vengeance by assassinating him and ending the whole Spectre there and then itself. But he couldn’t locate him and so murdered his wife and spared Madeleine, when she was a kid. Just to use her to reach her father whenever he could. The film kick starts from here and cuts to Madeleine as an adult living with Bond. The movie progresses with Bond and Madeleine leaving that place and going to another. How beautifully the vulnerability of Bond is shown when Madeleine tells him you still looking over your shoulder with a suspicion that someone is following. During this there are few goons that try to kill bond and create a doubt in his mind that Madeleine has planned it and try to separate them. A visually stunning car chase and action followed this. At the end of this action scene, Bond drops Madeleine on a train and asks her to stay away. The story takes a leap of 5 years and Bond returns to mission from his home in Jamaica and moves to Cuba, in search of a scientist who was supposed to be used to destroy Bond. Bond comes to know that Blofield is the one who’s still running Spectre from behind the bars, with the help of his bio-eye. But, the scientist instead of killing Bond destroys the other members of Spectre and single-handedly puts an end to it on the words of Safin, as Safin’s dad used to work for Blofield and he wanted to seek revenge. With the help of Madeleine, by applying poison to her hands, Blofield is assassinated and hence, the head of Spectre dies right there. Eventually Bond finds out that he has a daughter and also Madeleine keeps denying, but he understands that and in the last act of the film, Safin kidnaps both Madeleine and her daughter. In order to put an end to this dangerous mission, Bond reaches at Safin’s site with the help of Q. Reaching there, he finds out of kidnapping and hence, faces Safin. Safin seemed to be fond of Bond and his ways. He thought of him as similar to Bond. The action continues and leads to a satisfying but emotional climax.
Direction and Cinematography
Cary Joji Fukunaga directed no time to die and I hope he directs many more upcoming Bond movies. Because he understood the crux of this character and he gripped its nerves. The emotions, the action, the charisma of the entire film, extremely well directed. One thing, no two, I had issues with were the built up of Safin’s character and his motives were not flared well. And why did the character Paloma had such less screen time. She was the highlight.
Cinematographer Linus Sandgen, assured that no matter what, No time to die has to stay alive in hearts of people. The way he captured every essence of this film was mind-boggling. He stole the show with his lens and how. Those long shots, aerial shots and those car chases, if there is something in this world which is as beautiful, definitely it’s worth every bit before you die.
A film as grand as this needs to be justified by equally amazing performances, and it does. Though few characters needed more screen timing but that cannot deny them not acting brilliantly. Madeleine played by Lea Seydoux is beautiful, vulnerable, she emotes, she expresses and she acts up to the mark. She is Bond’s love interest and does justice to her role. Nomi or the other 007 played by Lashana Lynch is impressive, she does her job well and is never off beat. She can be the next Bond, you never know. Blofield played by Christoph Waltz is extremely intimidating and classy, one scene and he takes the cake. Rami Malek as Safin is very good, he gets the nerves of character but because of his short screen timing; we do not get to see much of him. Which rather hurts, seeing an actor of his calibre not getting the deserving screen time. Ana de Armas as Paloma is my favourite in this film. Even she has just one scene in this film and Oh boy, does she not impress. She just grooves in her role, she is swift, she is enigmatic, she is smart, she is expressive and immensely gorgeous. I would have loved to see her more and more in this film. Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright and Ralph Fiennes in their respected supportive roles are placed well and they do their jobs with ease.
Let’s come to the heart and soul of this film, Daniel Craig – The James Bond. There isn’t anything which hasn’t been told about this man and his portrayal of Bond. It seems like this character is an alter ego of Daniel Craig. He just eases himself into the skin of it. Craig is as brilliant as one can be and he aces the role of Bond. It’s sad to see him ending his portrayal of Bond with this, but he has written his name all over the franchise and as I mentioned above, he will be my favourite Bond.
Yes, I wrote about the excellency in the department of cinematography and here, just to elevate the point would love to speak about few instances. There were car and bike chases, but there was this one sequence that was shot in the forest. A stunning capture and during that scene, the camera is placed behind a tree and a biker from opposite gang just passes by with complete fog. Also, in the ultimate act when Madeleine and her daughter get away from Safin’s site through boat, they move from darkness into sunlight which symbolises her life too. It ends with Bond’s trademark pose, which is shot as him holding the gun and amidst the hole or tunnel. There are references to earlier Bond films and characters, Safin resembles Dr. No, quite a lot. References from movies and dialogues like, “You live only twice.”
Music plays an important role here. The BGM by Hans Zimmer is as always amazing and it never overboard the scene. No time to die – song by Billie Eilish is haunting, touching and brilliant. It sets the perfect mood for this film during its initial credits.
No time to die maybe the last film of Daniel Craig as Bond but it never disappoints. It has everything that a blockbuster needs and it’s a very well thought, written and made film. It is a perfect end to Craig’s Bond and deserving adieu to his legacy as Bond. This film weaves all the previous instalments and their references into one fine dress which is elegant. Do give this one a shot at theatres if possible because it is made for the largest screens available, preferably Imax.
Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.