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No Time To Die film review


Directed by: #CaryJojiFukunaga

Film review by: Brian Penn

No Time to Die (2021)

The opening titles remain an exquisite work of art; the fanfare laden soundtrack, roving spotlight and closing camera lens. A gunshot and the screen turns red; of course it’s Bond and thankfully he’s back in full effect. After more false starts than a 100 metre sprint, we finally get the 25th instalment of the greatest ever movie franchise. It doesn’t disappoint with a satisfying mix of stunts, gadgets and snarling villainy.

Along the way it ticks a variety of boxes that ensure its credentials align with a modern thinking audience. He now has a much softer personality and displays a range of emotions to boot. Whilst the humanisation of Bond is a useful dimension, it sometimes detracts from his purpose as a state trained killer. However, the most pleasing elements are retained including the dry one-liners, stone cold stare and overriding need to serve his country.

The story begins with a compelling salvo running the full gamut of action dynamics. Dr Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) is emotionally damaged and struggling with the past, while Bond (Daniel Craig) has opened a barely healed wound in a rapid turn of events. Jumping forward five years we find Bond retired and living in Jamaica. Old CIA chum Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) has sought him out for special commission. They want him to recover a new bioweapon called ‘Heracles’ and its designer scientist Obruchev (David Dencik). Both went missing after a robbery at a London laboratory and have inevitably fallen into the wrong hands. MI6 led by ‘M’ (Ralph Fiennes) are also keen to recover said weapon, and have newly anointed ‘00’ Nomi (Lashana Lynch) on the case. Bond takes the CIA freelance role and clashes with his opposite number. Gentle sniping eventually gives way as the pair combine to defeat forces that threaten the safety of millions.

It’s a fairly predictable ‘bad guys about to destroy the world as Bond rides to the rescue’ type of storyline. But it’s all superbly delivered with the panache we’ve come to expect. The narrative relies on a strong adversary to give Bond drive and purpose. ‘No Time To Die’ spoils the audience with two high quality villains. Ernst Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) makes an excellent cameo appearance that is more than a faint nod to Hannibal Lecter; while Lyutsifer Safin (Remi Malek) slithers with quiet menace.

It might seem outlandish and far-fetched; but we exchange reality for escapism at the door of the cinema. More importantly, this is top class entertainment and the reason why cinema was invented. The final scenes are surprisingly poignant as Bond bears his soul. A superb soundtrack is topped off by a reprise of ‘We have all the time in the world’ by Louis Armstrong. The theme song from ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ it reminds us of last time Bond’s heart was broken. The finale leaves us to wonder when 007 will next be joining us. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long?


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