No Time To Die

Photo Credit: MGM

“(They have) all the time in the world,” James Bond (Daniel Craig) tells his “Spectre” lover Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) when she asks him to talk about Vesper, his deceased “Casino Royale” love that has riddled him with guilt four movies later.

It’s an ironic line filled with sorrow, both in our recognition that “No Time To Die” marks the end of Craig’s impressive reign as the British spy but also in the realization that Bond is far from leaving his troubles behind, and time has taken its toll.

He isn’t the same calculated and quietly arrogant rookie from “Casino Royale”; he’s now riddled with scars, weaker in the bones, and not nearly as efficient at concealing his emotions nor escaping them.

This is why he visits Vesper’s grave upon Swann’s request on their Italian getaway during the film’s introduction. He’s putting the secret agent life behind him, he’s finally ready to trust someone… and that’s when the grave explodes.

Bond is convinced Swann knew about the grave and goes off-the-grid, secluded and heartbroken for five years, until the threat of a bioweapon involving some familiar names brings James back into the fray.

And something about the battle this time feels different. The various action sequences have a franticness to them that makes 007 more at risk than ever before (one scene involving a silo has a genuine gritty claustrophobia to it that had me taking shorter breaths). The damage of the past paints Craig’s face in a way that makes you fear for the cold world he’s wrapped up in, like he’s suddenly become too innocent to survive it.

This is what drives much of “No Time To Die”: watching the cold, clinical spy learn to embrace his humanity in a way we’ve only seen before in glimpses, and fearing the consequences that come with caring. For the first time in the long series history, Bond seems to have someone to truly fight for.

Unfortunately, the supporting cast can't quite escape the shadow of Bond’s questions. Despite an effectively eerie introduction, Rami Malek’s Lyutsifer Safin feels so secondary because his menace can't weigh up to the terror of Bond’s own emotional baggage. His pseudo-intellectual speeches interrupt more than they add meaningful momentum.

Nomi (Lashana Lynch) is a delightful push against Bond’s more egotistical side as his 007 replacement after his retirement, and Paloma (Ana de Armas) is an absolute scene-stealer as a CIA operative three weeks into the job. Neither get the screen time they deserve and it’s hard to excuse in a movie clocking in at 163 minutes.

Still, Craig commands every second he’s given and though “No Time To Die” may be slightly melodramatic in its most emotional moments, it doesn't feel unearned for a character who didn’t just spend the last four movies under Craig’s control, but the last half-century suppressing Bond’s feelings under a calculated stare.

007 may never be this touching again, but the imprint left by Daniel Craig won’t soon be forgotten.

Movie/Streaming Critic

Hi, I'm Zach! I'm a sophomore studying Journalism, and when I'm not catching up on film classics, I enjoy jamming out to music, reading and writing poetry, and goofing off with friends.