No Time to Die: Fitting, If Not Thrilling, Farewell, Starring Daniel Craig in Final Outing as 007 Bond

Daniel Craig in Fukunaga’s ‘No Time to Die’: Fitting, if Not Thrilling Farewell.

In Craig’s fifth and final 007 action thriller, No Time to Die, James Bond gets lured out of retirement and back into MI6 service when a new threat to the world and to someone he loves surfaces.

Anyone who has developed an attachment to the grit and gravitas, the coiled physicality and brooding demeanor that Daniel Craig has brought to the reinvigorated James Bond franchise, starting in 2006 with Casino Royale, will feel mixed feelings in his fifth and final appearance in the role in No Time to Die.

The 25th installment in the venerable 007 series is the first to be directed by an American, Cary Joji Fukunaga, who handles the action with assurance and the more intimate interludes with sensitivity, never forgetting that there’s a wounded, vulnerable human being beneath the licensed-to-kill MI6 agent. The uneven movie’s big issue, however, is that the path to Craig’s momentous departure is drowning in plot; it’s so convoluted and protracted you might find yourself zoning out through much of the villainy.

 

'No Time to Die'

 

Daniel Craig

No Time to Die allows the actor to dig deeper on the rewarding character work he’s been doing since his 21st century reinvention of the role.

Previous incarnations of Ian Fleming’s British secret agent have been defined by the sexy swagger, the arched eyebrow and the cool, calm composure even in the hairiest of situations, that glib characterization growing particularly tired in the Roger Moore years.

Craig has minimized those more caricatured aspects as he explored the interiority of a man haunted by loss–of Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale and Judi Dench’s M in Skyfall. He has been at war with his own trust and other internal issues.

He’s also fighting against time, as the new film’s title implies. Another crushing loss awaits him in No Time to Die, before his final reckoning.

This is arguably the most tender portrait of James Bond seen; the emotional stakes are raised by a love that’s more than the usual passing flirtation.

Just as Vesper stirred something in James’ world-weary heart and then shattered it in betrayal, the romance with Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) that began in Spectre evolves here into a potential escape from a dangerous life.

The revelation of a secret halfway through the movie only intensifies his soulful surrender to the possibility of personal fulfillment that Bond perhaps never believed he was capable of.

Credits:

Release date: Thursday, Sept. 30 (U.K.), Friday, Oct. 8 (U.S.)

Cast: Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes

Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga

Screenwriters: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Rated: PG-13

Running time: 163 minutes