No Time to Die ★★★★
Cary Joji Fukunaga
Starring Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux, Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw
Pessimists among us predicted the death of cinema in the wake of the pandemic; with people either too worried for their safety to return to the big screen or just too used to the comfort of their front room.
But Bond said otherwise!
The newest instalment in the 007 franchise is nothing but proof that cinema has "no time to die", because we're too ready to lap it back up again.
To even begin to discuss the plot would be a crime but what can be said is that it's everything you want it to be. Huge set pieces, modern day espionage, gadgets, explosions, car chases, one liners, classy suits and just the right amount of cheese. It's fun, it's explosive but most importantly it has heart that not all Bond movies have managed to possess.
The villain, Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek) is as ominous and evil as you would imagine (he may as well be called Lucifer Satin let's be honest) but his motives are a little thin. Powered by the devastation of his backstory it all feels a little forced, as if his past has been wedged in around the existing narrative. The same can be said for Léa Seydoux's Madeline who, although excellent, has been retconned a little to fit the needs of certain other characters, something that the franchise has been known to do before.
Horror elements do however give the series a fresh feel. Although Bond villains have treaded the horror line in the past this instalment doesn't hold back in paying tribute to 70's thrashers and more specifically in one scene The Silence of the Lambs.
Daniel Craig is exceptional as ever as the British spy, and it is hard to imagine anyone else now stepping into the shoes, and what big shoes they are to fill; but Craig's enthusiasm and dedication to the role will perhaps never be matched. He will be missed as 007, and although not quite the quality of previous Craig instalments Skyfall or Casino Royale, No Time to Die was a riveting last adventure to see him out on.
So let this be a sign of good things to come. Film companies always knew that No Time to Die would be a great film to get bums back on seats, hence the countless pushbacks. And now that restrictions have been lifted and the houses can be packed again, with queues spreading across Leicester Square and popcorn selling quicker than ever, with the audiences laughing and crying and cheering together, this really is a promising time for cinema.
No Time to Die available in cinemas now