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REVIEW: No Time To Die - A Flawed yet Beautiful Swan Song for Daniel Craig

By Haydn Elmore | October 11, 2021

For almost 60 years, James Bond has been one of the most iconic film franchises of all time. Actors like Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan have taken their own spin on the role for each generation.

In 2006, Daniel Craig put on the Bond suit with “Casino Royale” and brought the character into a new light. His Bond is less of the charming and confident spy hero we had been accustomed to, and more of a cold hearted assassin that’s in line with the character Ian Fleming created in his novel.

“No Time To Die” is a satisfying ending to Daniel Craig’s run as James Bond.

What’s impressive about Craig’s Bond is despite the various ups and downs in the quality of the films, they are thematically built upon each other. “No Time to Die” is the conclusion of the story and was able to explore much more of Bond’s humanity and inner turmoil. Daniel Craig nails the role perfectly giving the weight and gravitas the character deserves.

The film is also aided by a strong cast of characters including Lea Seydoux as Madeleine Swann, who gave an emotionally gut wrenching performance. The whole cast elevates the experience, providing the push for Bond’s arc within the film.

Director Cary Joji Fukunaga gives energy and precision with every set piece, emotional moment, and combat scene. This is also thanks to the excellent cinematography by Linus Sandgren and the smooth editing by Elliot Graham and Tom Cross.

The action sequences’ wide angle shots capture the scope of the locations, the obstacles the characters are facing, and the creativity the scenes provide.

The slower paced scenes play out in a naturalistic way to let the actors get into the emotional moment as needed. The editing does not do an abundance of quick cuts, but uses long takes with minimal editing to let the audience process the sentiment. This helps get into the mindset of the character much easier than if it was quickly moving.

“No Time to Die” is completely consistent with each scene containing action, humor, and drama making the overall experience more engaging.

The film does have some flaws that keep this from being among the best in the series. For one, it is unusually long, locked at a 2 hour and 43 minute runtime. While it does not feel like it is boring, shaving off a good 20 minutes or so would have improved the pacing. Due to the long runtime, the film has to juggle plot lines and characters both old and new. Few of them are given enough depth or nuance to be fully fleshed out. More drafts of the script or removal of some narrative choices would have given these ideas more breathing room.

Another issue with the film is while Rami Malek does a solid job of portraying the villain, the character is undeveloped and uncompelling. It is disappointing for the final villain in the Craig Bond films. He does not come off as threatening compared to some of the Bond villains in the past, the way Le Chiffre in “Casino Royale” or Silva in “Skyfall” did.

“No Time to Die” is an expansive and messy yet entertaining and somewhat beautiful celebration of both Daniel Craig’s previous outings and the series as a whole. It provides fluent directing, terrific action sequences, and a heavy amount of tight emotion that ties the thematic bows of Craig’s story in a poignant way. Even its ending made me choke up, because of the dedication and love Daniel Craig brought to this role.

So to Daniel Craig, thank you. Thank you for an amazing run as the iconic 007 agent known as James Bond. Through all the highs and lows, you made the 15-year journey worth it and you truly showed honor and love to this character while making it your own. We are going to miss you very much, and whoever is going to be the next Bond will have some big shoes to fill.

Rating: 7.5/10

No Time To Die is currently playing in theaters such as Regal at Crossgates and Colonie Center respectively.


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