Saturday, 9 October 2021

No Time to Die

At 25 has James Bond finally come of age? In Daniel Craig's last outing as 007 in the 25th film in the franchise, we find a more mature Bond and for that matter a more mature Bond movie. In many ways it's the same as its predecessors but at the same time there are welcome differences.

I was wondering if the 2:43 runtime would drag. It doesn't. The narrative maintains a steady march towards its conclusion. There are many strands to the narrative arc of this film's story. They intertwine and play with each other trading emotions as they do so. On more than one occasion we see Bond paralysed by confliction where the old and new Bonds battle for a decision. 

The exotic locations are there - stunning light in Puglia, lush vegetation in the Caribbean, frozen Norway with spectacular bridges and coastline, The Faroe Islands and of course Scotland. In the London scene above, I used to work in the building on the left in 1979! 

What is not there is the serial abuser of women. His harsh and brutal career has seemingly taught  Commander Bond what really matters in life. This is a film about love, truth, integrity, sacrifice and loss. Of course greed, revenge and megalomania all feature too, but these are left for others to inhabit.

There are plenty of wild and exciting chases using a wide variety of vehicles, death defying jumps and the ever present product placement - mainly of brands identified as British even if their owners these days reside in other territories. There are very strong acting performances from a great ensemble cast. Christoph Waltz emanates a power that transcends the confinement of his character, Léa Seydoux displays a vulnerability alongside steeliness,  Rami Malek is flesh-creepingly sinister and Ana de Armas will, I am sure, reappear to beautifully support the British Secret Service once again.

This film is sensitive to many of the things that increasingly matter in our evolving world. Dealing with a potential world-wide pandemic, showing greater respect to women, calling out a lack of integrity, two black women in lead roles and changing world order.

This is my first visit to the cinema in 21 months. It felt good. The sound and visual treats of this film demand the largest screen you can find to watch it on. Pay the extra if you can. This film does deserve the hype and I am sure it will go down in the canon of Bond films as one of the best.  I'm going to give it 8/10.

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