Best Bond film to date?Sunday, October 24, 2021
Could No Time To Die be the best of the James Bond series? I am casting my vote in the affirmative. This film is a great watch.
It is only fair that for the 25th instalment in the series the producers get it right and present a visually stunning and gripping thriller that delivers on so many levels.
I recall watching the film The Bourne Identity, based on the novel by Robert Ludlum, and could not help but think this is where the Bond franchise should be heading — a strong drama with heart-thumping action, and this is where No Time To Die comfortably sits. It all begins with a story and the writers have clearly decided to rely less on cheesy subplots and gimmicks and, instead, weave a solid storyline that will hold its audience, accentuated by the things that Bond is known for — fast cars, high-octane action sequences, beautiful women, exotic locations, and out-of-this-world gadgetry.
So let's get to the story.
In No Time To Die, Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend, Felix Leiter, from the CIA, turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
So let's start with Jamaica. The complexity of the island and culture is on full display. The island provides a great starting point. First there is the serenity of Bond's new world, then the energy of the island jumps from the screen. The fact that Buju Banton's Champion and Shaggy's Money Up blast from speakers during the nightclub scene serve to up the ante on the Jamaican vibe. This is where we first come into contact with Nomi, the new agent with the 007 designation, played superbly by 'our girl' Lashana Lynch. Her strong ties to Jamaica makes her “Yuh want a ride?” in the strongest patois, both genuine and a major moment for local audiences. The physicality of her performance showcased the other sides of her character as well as her acting chops. She throws in good comedic timing and dramatic sensibilities to make Nomi one to remember.
Daniel Craig, in what is said to be his last outing as the British agent, is his strongest yet. When he took up the role 15 years ago many were sceptical as to whether or not he would match up to his predecessors, among them Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan. Based on his body of work many are willing to crown his the best Bond. I'm holding back my vote on that one, but he does deliver a great performance full of emotional depth and the grit required of the character.
Other commanding performances are put in by Academy Award winner Rami Malek, who plays the sinister villain Lyutsifer Safin. Malek brings the intensity in his delivery; however, it is not loud and over the top, but rather a cold, controlled pace, serving up evil in a very deliberate way. His attempt at world domination and revenge via the control of the DNA-specific weapon of mass destruction adds to the chilling nature of the performance.
What would the franchise be without Bond girls? French actress Léa Seydoux and the Cuban-born Ana de Armas light up the screens in two different ways. Seydoux, as Dr Madeleine Swann, provides the emotional crux on which the story hinges, and, therefore, her performances bring out another side of Bond's character, while adding depth and dimension to the story. De Armas kicks up a storm during her brief moments on screen, leaving behind a trail of bodies while looking flawless in diamonds, an evening gown and high heels.
If there is one fault with No Time To Die is the absence of more gadgets. In this technology-driven age one would have loved to have a peak into the future. A cellphone which contains a camera was cool 35 years ago, so to see what's behind the next decades's curtain would have been great. That, however, does not detract from a strong film. Let's see what the producers have up their sleeve for the Bond 26... especially given the ending of No Time To Die.
— BY RICHARD JOHNSON