No Time To Die movie review: Daniel Craig’s sloppy, sentimental farewell

In a bid to give ‘fitting’ finale for Daniel Craig’s final outing as 007, Cary Fukunaga’s No Time to Die sacrifices every bit of nuance by the end.

Tatsam Mukherjee September 30, 2021 13:39:07 IST

2/5

Cary Joji Fukunaga’s No Time To Die is heavy-handed from the first scene, where James Bond (Daniel Craig) and his love-interest, Madeline (Léa Seydoux) glide across Europe like the protagonists in an Imtiaz Ali movie. Except there’s no song playing in the background which underlines their ‘free spirit’ ways. As they enter (what looks like) a town in Italy, she teases him for looking over his shoulder. He denies it, and says something profound about the ‘past’. We see locals burning tiny pieces of paper, which we’re told are past regrets and secrets, as a ritual.

Craig’s Bond has been marinating in distrust and trauma since that climactic betrayal in Casino Royale, something that has arguably worked splendidly for the franchise, rooting it in real-world opacity. And to Craig’s credit, he embodies the stiff upper-lipped Mi6 agent to perfection, instead of being the one firing zingers in every scene. Which is why it’s shocking that the No Time To Die makers saddle him with melodramatic lines like “We all have our secrets, we just didn’t get to yours yet.” But then again, that’s probably the ‘pitch’ of Fukunaga’s film. Now, only if they had shown more conviction to deliver a sappy finale for Craig’s final outing as James Bond.

It’s troubling how little No Time To Die does to separate itself from its predecessors. It’s just another bloated Bond film, with call-backs from within the Bond franchise (since Craig got on board), ‘exotic’ landscapes, a supervillain with a God complex nursing genocidal ambitions. “Just another day,” Mallory tells Bond in one scene. There’s the wry British humour on display, the umpteen close-ups of alcohol being served in a glass often gulped within seconds. Even the action scenes, though impressive in the moment, aren’t particularly memorable like the parkour scene in Casino Royale. There’s no weighty grief in the way Bond nurses a broken heart in Quantum of Solace, and surely none of the bitterness or existential dread from Skyfall.

No Time To Die movie review Daniel Craigs sloppy sentimental farewell

Far from bearing Fukunaga’s signature on it, No Time To Die seems like a dish that the director cooked up from a bullet-point recipe using each of the studio executive’s favourite ingredients. Some humour? Add some of Ana De Armas and Daniel Craig’s playful chemistry from Knives Out. Some action? Let’s blow things up - a street in Cuba, a sailboat, or even an island. Some ‘progressive’ posturing? Let’s get Lashana Lynch as the new 007 to impress the liberals. The decision really does feel that shallow, especially the way they handle Lynch, characterising her as someone chasing her own tail based on Bond’s leads. The treatment meted out to Lynch at least answers the question about whether she is going to be trusted with the franchise. Nope.

Rami Malek, sporting a Noh mask and spotted skin, isn’t nearly as creepy as his plain face in Mr Robot. Playing a character, who is an odd mix of Russian and Japanese heritage, means Malek gets ample room for his homegrown eccentricities. Malek hisses his lines like a snake with an obvious menacing Russian accent, but it never really has the intended effect. Something Javier Bardem did with such elan in Skyfall.

No Time To Die movie review Daniel Craigs sloppy sentimental farewell

 

Like most lazy, mainstream films from around the world, it’s almost embarrassing the way No Time To Die assaults the tear ducts, constantly giving us moments screaming… practically begging us to ‘feel’. And that ultimately proves too much even for a superb Bond like Daniel Craig.

Trying to give a ‘fitting’ finale for Craig’s final outing as 007, Fukunaga’s film sacrifices every bit of nuance by the end. Which could have still been done well, but the chief problem with No Time To Die is that it tries to be a tribute to Bond’s valour by the end, which is unnecessary if one thinks about the four Craig films before this, or even the 24 films in the franchise before this.

In the final scene, Mallory toasts to Bond, like some (heavy-handed) fan service for those raising their glasses for Craig’s incredible run. It’s not quite the send-off everyone might have hoped for, but everyone (in the cast) probably knows it’s time to walk away.

Updated Date:

also read

Taylor Swift ticket trouble could drive political engagement
Entertainment

Taylor Swift ticket trouble could drive political engagement

For Swifties, the ire for Ticketmaster is not just about a ticket: “It’s the fact that you can’t participate in your community and your fandom and it’s part of your identity,” Nisbett said.

Did Bruce Lee die from drinking too much water? New research claims
Entertainment

Did Bruce Lee die from drinking too much water? New research claims

Bruce Lee's wife Linda Lee revealed that the kung-fu expert had a fluid-based diet of carrot and apple juice before his death.

Taylor Swift’s clean sweep to P!nk’s heartfelt tribute performance: Here are top 5 moments from the grand night of AMAs
Entertainment

Taylor Swift’s clean sweep to P!nk’s heartfelt tribute performance: Here are top 5 moments from the grand night of AMAs

Catch the never seen before performances and speeches from the best artists in the world at the 2022 American Music Awards only on Lionsgate Play.