Ironically, No Time To Die has literally kept us waiting for so long as the latest James Bond adventure under Daniel Craig has suffered from the coronavirus epidemic. Hence after some delays, the story initiated by Casino Royale ended. It is time?
Sharp blue eyes, tight jawline and swollen biceps, in 2006 Daniel Craig made a sensational entry into Ian Fleming’s world as the more reserved and menacing James Bond. Fifteen years later, the actor is gearing up to step back with his much-anticipated fifth film. Because Die can wait’s mission is not a simple one: he must conclude the common thread started by Casino Royale, forget the failure of 007 Specter and let the main actor go through the front door. We want to believe that the impossible is not James Bond.
The latter is also enjoying a well-deserved retirement until his friend from the CIA, Felix Leiter, asks for his help in finding the kidnapped scientist. Very quickly, his path will cross old acquaintances and mysterious foes with radical methods.
Who’s smoother than starting a saga? Conclude. Die Can Wait is the twenty-fifth mission of the British secret service and also the final chapter in the plot to be haunted by the ghost of Vesper Lynd. And if James has changed his face time and time again, this is the first time history has acknowledged the last appearance of one of them so much. No Time To Die is unmatched by its predecessors and this is the reason for its success…and failure.
At one o’clock. This is the timeframe in which we begin the most fun Craig-era film since Skyfall. For sixty minutes, Mouir could wait to keep all his promises and tick all the best boxes in the “Bondien” specs. We walked from Italy to Jamaica then to Cuba on the History of the spy trail with a capital H; Robert Wade and Neal Purvis, writers of the saga since The World is not enough, apply to pay homage to those who preceded them by inserting multiple references, disguised or obvious.
Nostalgic subtext that goes hand in hand with their more modern character approach. James had never been so human, fragile. Bond has aged, has feelings for and is at peace with them, even though the burdens of the past continue to torment him. Ghost’s shadow was still hanging over him and he needed to draw the last line to move forward. 26 years later, No Time To Die can take over Goldeneye’s famous line: “For England James?” “Not for me!”.
A connection between past and present that finds its climax in the film’s finest sequence, in Cuba, where former schoolgirl Daniel Craig shoots criminals in the company of a new generation of disarming Ana de Armas with charm, grip and humor. Way ahead of the new 007 (Lashana Lynch), the actress seen in Knives Out is undoubtedly the most beautiful surprise of the film as she manages to steal the attention of her male counterpart. We don’t know if we should be grateful for Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s contribution to the script for character writing, but if Amazon, which has reclaimed the licensing rights, were to take advantage of a universe beyond 007, Agent Paloma would easily get a spin.
Death can wait, of course, but it should not be abused. With 2:47 on the clock, this film is the longest of the saga. A duration that is unfortunately very felt once the story tries to close the car.
As such, the film is likely to surprise licensing fans with the radical nature of its scriptwriting choices, its risk-taking, and its more human approach to Bond. A treatment that is perhaps more interesting, needless to say compared to what has been built since Casino Royale, but one that renders everything revolving around it obsolete. Looking for a swan song at all costs, the scenario forgets to bring consistency to the rest. Half of the scene adds nothing and the other half makes no sense as soon as we try to get interested in the whys and hows.
The proof is by casting because apart from Ana de Armas’s small break, almost no character has managed to exist outside of her role as a narrative tool. A tool that can be sacrificed during assembly without feeling lacking. The old ones made attendance acts, trying to justify their paychecks, and the new ones made rugs. Lashana Lynch is roughly written tinfoil. Rami Malek plays an invisible villain because he is inconsistent which we will soon forget. Only Léa Seydoux emerged victorious over these horses through her special relationship with our hero. Criticized at Specter, it finds its true place here and is an enduring part of spy history.
As for silkthe virgin Cary Joji Fukunaga doesn’t seem to know what to do with the myth. Despite a promising introduction and a few attempts to get us out of indolence here and there like when he served us firefights in successive shots, the filmmakers will never succeed in marking the retina. A flat staging, with too little craziness for Bond’s latest adventure. We left without being able to cite a single visually striking sight.
Are we getting our hopes up on Daniel Craig’s breakup? On the other hand, has multiple procrastination eroded our enthusiasm? However, one appears, de Mouir can wait with little emotion, but above all a lot of boredom.