Sunday, October 10, 2021

No Time to Die

Movie Name:
No Time to Die
Year of Release: 2021
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Starring: Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Rami Malek, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Lashana Lynch, Rory Kinnear, Jeffrey Wright, Billy Magnussen, Christoph Waltz, David Dencik, Dali Benssalah, Lisa-Dorah Sonnet, Coline Defaud
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
View Trailer

Synopsis and Review:
Writer/Director Cary Joji Fukunaga is the latest director to tackle the James Bond franchise, following his celebrated "Beasts of No Nation" and the mini-series "Maniac", both of which he released with streaming platform, Netflix. This episode of the series, is also the last one featuring actor Daniel Craig as James Bond. It picks up right after the events from "Spectre", where Blofeld is imprisoned, and James and Madeleine are trying to have a life outside of his secret service work. However those ties are hard to shake, since Madeleine herself has secrets she's never disclosed, the same way Bond has a difficult time letting go of the death of Vesper Lynd. When they're targeted in Italy, Bond suspects Madeleine is associated with the whole thing, and they both go their separate ways. However Bond is lassoed back once more, this time around courtesy of his friend Felix Leiter, who wants him to capture a doctor who is in possession of a biological weapon that can be devastating. Turns out Bond is not the only on the trail of this doctor, with his previous team, and in particular a new 007 also pursuing that same doctor. Turns out that biological weapon was crafted with the consent of his old boss, M, but has been usurped by someone with far more sinister intentions, someone connected to Madeleine's past. Bond has to race against time and uncover who this menacing individual is, before his whole world collapses.
What has always been interesting about the James Bond saga, is the fact that it never takes itself very seriously. Its central hero is indeed someone with a license to kill, but is also someone who is able to crack a joke, on top of being lethal with all sorts of weaponry and knowing everything about the financial and arts worlds. As the years have passed, this series has veered into campy and over the top, but with Daniel Craig, the series definitely approached a more Jason Bourne type of edginess and some would say, "quasi-realistic" approach to its different narratives. Of all the films Daniel Craig has fronted, Sam Mendes's "Skyfall" is quite possibly the best one, since it convincingly weaves a tapestry of betrayal within the Organization Bond comes from, while also humanizing him and some of his team mates. Not to mention, it features one of the most charismatic and pained villains of the entire saga, Silva, as impeccably played by Javier Bardem. "No Time to Die" fails to capture both the compelling drama which sustained "Skyfall" but also its riveting energy. Cary Joji Fukunaga's attempts to further humanize the agent, giving him somewhat of a blissful domestic/romantic life, but Madeleine always remains somewhat of an unresolved character, whereas the villainous presence played by Rami Malek, fails to elicit either real danger, or an actual compelling motivation for him to do what he's doing. It's ultimately a chapter that closes the arc around this particular approach to the character, one that is populated with some solid action set pieces, but where once again the story fails to deliver as efficiently as some of the previous chapters. The cast is a mixed bag, with Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris and Jeffrey Wright, all being top notch, whereas Rami Malek is miscast, and Daniel Craig seems to be portraying a much more relaxed version of the agent he was in the other films. Highlights should go to Linus Sandgren's stunning cinematography and Hans Zimmer's score. It's entertaining feature, but not a memorable one.