Reel Reviews | No Time to Die

by Charles Kirkland, Jr.

It’s the end of the road for Daniel Craig as he bids adieu to James Bond in the epic conclusion to the series, No Time To Die.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) is retired.  He is now enjoying a peaceful life with Madeline (Lea Seydoux) on the Italian coast.  Madeline’s past comes back to haunt them when they are attacked by Spectre.  Out of anger and suspicion, James is forced to send Madeline away for the purpose of their protection.  Later, Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) appears and enlists the former agent to assist with an attempt to thwart a using a deadly viral attack by Spectre.  The mission goes in an extremely unexpected direction forcing Bond to return to service in order to stop a new and deadlier player in the game.

No Time To Die is Daniel Craig’s fifth and final installment in the Bond franchise.  It is written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Cary Joji Fukunaga, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge based upon the classic characters created by Ian Fleming.  It stars Craig, Seydoux, and Wright with Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Billy Magnussen, Christoph Waltz, and Ana de Armas.  The film is directed by Fukunaga and is his first film in the franchise and his first follow-up to his outstanding film, Beasts of No Nation.

Nomi (Lashana Lynch) in NO TIME TO DIE, an EON Productions and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios film Credit: Nicola Dove © 2020 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Fukunaga is an interesting choice for a Bond film.  He has the ability to capture action reasonably well and has a very cinematic approach to filming.  He seems to have a penchant for sweeping landscapes, a skill he puts to use very well throughout this film.  His view of the Italian coastline and villages is lustfully gorgeous.  From the frozen French countryside to the Cuban islands, Fukunaga knows how to make it look very good. 

Additionally, he is very good at documenting violence.  In Beasts, he kept an unflinching eye upon the violence in Africa that was engaging and engrossing.  He does the same with the action of this film.  From car chases and shootouts, Fukunaga makes sure that everything is able to be witnessed by the audience despite the level of freneticism.

Unfortunately, the level of action in this film seems to be lacking.  It could be the fact that the movie is an incredible two hours and forty-three minutes long, the longest of any Bond film by at least 20 minutes.  Although the storyline is very well fleshed out, there are some moments in the film where the monotone dialogue could lead to a zone-out moment from moviegoers.  It is fun to see Craig reunited with Ana de Armas, the costar from his newest franchise, Knives Out.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Paloma (Ana de Armas) in NO TIME TO DIE, an EON Productions and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios film Credit: Nicola Dove © 2020 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

This Bond film goes places that no other of its predecessors have gone.  Without releasing any major spoilers, the controversy over who could play 007 in the future has been kind of given new life by this film because when James returns to her Majesty’s secret service, he finds his “007” designation has been given to another person, a woman no less (YES!!).  But even more, surprises await not just Bond but every Bond fan by the end of this film.

With a shocking ending that can only be described as a fitting and final conclusion to the Daniel Craig era, No Time To Die is a testament to what Daniel Craig brought to the character, reinvigorating a franchise that seemed to be faltering under its own weight.  Where do they go from here, as the final panel of the film states “James Bond will return.”

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violent action, a scene of torture, sexual content, and nudity, No Time To Die is a certified classic that every Bond fan must see and a goodbye that everyone should witness. 

Grade:  B