It’s finally here. No Time To Die, the 25th installment of the James Bond film franchise opened in theaters in the U.S. this past weekend following multiple delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The film stars Daniel Craig, in his fifth and final, and perhaps, his finest turn as James Bond. He is joined by returning cast members Léa Seydoux, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes, and Jeffrey Wright. New to the franchise are Oscar winner Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel), and Ana de Armas (Knives Out). 

No Time To Die

Directed by Bay Area native Cary Joji Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nation), Bond, now a retired MI6 agent, is trying to enjoy his happily ever after with Dr. Madeleine Swann (Seydoux) in Italy but can’t keep himself from looking over his shoulder. A trip to Vesper Lynd’s grave finds the former double-0 agent with some unfinished business involving SPECTRE. He parts ways with Dr. Swann, and five years later, Bond is tracked down by the CIA’s Felix Leiter (Wright) in Jamaica. Leiter wants Bond to help rescue a scientist who’s been kidnapped from an off-the-grid lab. Following a not-so-chance encounter with the confident and by-the-book Nomi (Lynch), a new double-0 agent, Bond discovers more than he bargains for during his mission, setting the stage for the final chapter of the Craig era. 

Image courtesy of MGM.

The film itself is beautifully captured by Director of Photography Linus Sandgren, and throughout its 163-minute runtime, there’s no shortage of adrenalized action sequences. Death-defying stunts, shoot-outs, and intense car chases are all the more breathtaking while set in Norway, Italy, and Scotland. 

With No Time To Die, the writers—Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Fukunaga, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge—crafted a story that is a maybe little darker than what audiences are used to—especially in terms of its villain, Lyutsifer Safin (Malek) and his intentions. While the film is very much Craig’s show, the writers also made sure to give the members of MI6—Moneypenny (Harris), Q (Whishaw), M (Fiennes)—their proper due.       

Teeming with emotion throughout, No Time To Die has all of the drama and moments of cleverness and levity that one would expect from this era of Bond. And, even for the most casual of viewers, Craig’s final cinematic foray as Bond on the big screen is not to be missed.

Change and Impact of the Craig Era 

The film was originally slated to open during the spring of 2020, and during a virtual media roundtable that I participated in on behalf of Art U News on Oct. 2, Fukunaga spoke about the uncertainty surrounding the film’s theatrical release.

“When you shoot a movie in IMAX or shoot any kind of movie meant for the big screen, the idea that audiences won’t be able to experience it, it’s probably the worst feeling—at least, not experienced as it was intended to be,” he explained. “So, the fact that it’s finally out now, I’ve been trying to figure out how… what is the right word to describe it? I don’t know if I have a word yet; it’s mainly just relief and gratitude. I’m sure a lot more words will come to me over the next week or two, as [the film] really does open worldwide. And especially here in the United States.”

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