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No Time to Die

Words: Shane Ramdhany 

Craig’s swan song is his most bombastic and poignant film to date.  In Cary Joji Fukunaga’s nearly 3 hour epic, we are served with the formulaic 007 fixings including frenetic shootouts, rugged car chases, and suits tailored with precision. The film effectively pivots between style and emotion, rarely losing its entertainment footing in its hefty runtime.  

In the film, we see Bond attempt to start a new life with Madeleine but inevitably their time of passion is disrupted, leading to a chain of events that revisits Madeleine’s past and also raises the stakes for Bond with a villain with the largest ambitions yet.  Craig and Seydoux both give earnest performances and while their chemistry suffices for the film’s purposes, it never truly elevates itself beyond standard fare romance as expected of the genre.  However, Craig depicts the most dynamic Bond we have seen yet.  His performance speaks to the finality of his role as Bond and his emotion inevitably permeates his audience and his fellow cast. This genuine, passionate display is what ultimately enable the film to transcend its predecessors and evade the categorical risk of being, “just another Bond film.”  

Rami Malek’s Safin, the film’s latest villain, has tasked Bond with diffusing the largest scale attack against humanity of all the films.  Malek delivers a sinister performance as a man with a diabolical plan.  However, the potential of his character is never fully extrapolated due to his limited screen time, resulting in a conflict that yields little reward by the end.  Malek thoroughly shines in his moments on screen so it is a disappointing revelation that he feels like a missed opportunity, underserved by the script. A similar argument can be made for Lashana Lynch’s, Nomi, the new 007.  She exudes ferocity and razor sharp finesse worthy of any lead.  However, her role results in a parallel disappointment to Safin as she ends up taking more of a back seat in the final act.

Sequences of intense action effectively align with Craig’s performance.  Fukunaga does not pull punches with sequences of raw physical energy that cause the heart to flutter.  Shoot outs feel as though they belong in a war epic rather than a suave thriller.  It is this trait that positions it to a standard of the highest caliber.  Those seeking a Bond film with a plethora of bullets and broken bones will feel right at home.

Craig’s outstanding performance, combined with the franchise’s most thrilling sequences to date, result in a final Bond film worthy of its place in Craig’s last outing.  Although some of its characters are left somewhat to be desired due to a script that doesn’t do its excellent cast justice, this is a film likely to satisfy any Bond fan as well as anyone who has joined the ride since Casino Royale.  As the curtain draws closed so does the poignant end of an era. 

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