After five films and 15 years as the titular spy, Daniel Craig finishes his James Bond career with an absolute bang.
“No Time to Die” picks up after the events of “Spectre,” with James Bond (Daniel Craig) going into retirement from his life as a spy with his lover Madeleine Swan (Lea Seydoux). After a surprise attack that makes Bond lose his trust in Madeleine, he goes into hiding and separates himself from her. Bond is then roped back into the world of espionage when a CIA agent (Jeffrey Wright) convinces him to capture a rogue scientist who had developed a biological weapon that could target specific DNA.
After the mission goes wrong and the scientist falls into the wrong hands, Bond is forced to work with MI6 again to find him and bring him back. With the help of the snarky new 007, Nomi (Lashana Lynch), they find that the scientist has been taken by evil mastermind Safin (Rami Malek), who plans on total global annihilation with this newly acquired weapon. Bond and Nomi must infiltrate a remote island and destroy the weapon before Safin can distribute it. With a ticking clock and everything on the line, Bond has to fight against all odds to save the day one last time.
The story was a phenomenal conclusion to this era of Bond films, the stakes were realistic yet terrifying, and Rami Malek as a Bond villain felt both natural and sinister. The film expertly painted Safin as a sort of mirror to Bond, showing how similar the two are in their upbringings, but how a few key decisions forced them on opposite paths. I also really loved the way that the film showcased the weapon early in the film, displaying its raw destructive power in a graphic and horrifying way and showing how the heroes remain absolutely defenseless against it.
My one problem with the story is how it tries to explain the creation of the weapon. The leader of MI6, simply known as M (Ralph Fiennes), was creating this weapon as a precautionary measure to stop major terrorist attacks before they happen. However, there are very few occasions this would logically be useful for good and could only be used with ill intent. The writers’ attempt to justify this with the plot device of M explaining himself came off as apologetic and hollow.
Despite this flaw in the writing, the cinematography and artistry utilized in the film made up for any plot holes. This was a beautifully shot movie, with the colors and framing all working harmoniously to create a visually stimulating experience. There were moments where I could clearly see the vision the director and cinematographer had — where a character’s costume colors matched with the background and were in direct contrast to another character’s costume colors for example — which enhanced the storytelling in a subtle way that I absolutely adored.
The direction of the movie was intimate while also maintaining the elegance of a classic Bond movie. “No Time to Die” was shot in a way that totally engrossed the audience into the story and I loved it. There was a moment where I coughed in the theater and I thought to myself, “Oh wait, I exist,” and I love when a film can do that. I genuinely would not be surprised if this film got nominated for an Oscar for best directing and best cinematography. This was by far my favorite film I’ve seen this year and possibly my favorite James Bond film. Please, do yourself a favor and watch “No Time to Die” on the biggest screen you can find. It’s definitely worth it.