No Time To Die is 'a bloated but entertaining slice of spy action'

007 James Bond (Daniel Craig) prepares to shoot in No Time To Die.

007 James Bond (Daniel Craig) prepares to shoot in No Time To Die, a DANJAQ and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. - Credit: Nicola Dove, © 2019 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM

Paul Steward reviews the latest James Bond blockbuster, No Time To Die, which can be seen at Saffron Screen and Royston Picture Palace from October 22.

After a lengthy delay, Daniel Craig’s highly anticipated final outing as 007 finally arrives on the big screen and finds Bond enjoying his retirement in Jamaica, when events take an unexpected turn.

With creative differences, directorial changes and COVID delays, No Time To Die’s journey to the screen hasn’t been an easy one. But two years later than planned, True Detective director Cary Joji Fukunaga now finally brings us the 25th entry in the franchise.

Scripted by longtime Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, together with Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the film sees Craig return as the eponymous secret agent for the fifth and final time.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Dr. Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux)drive through Matera.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Dr Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) drive through Matera, Italy, in No Time To Die, a DANJAQ and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. - Credit: Nicola Dove © 2019 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM.

Having left active service, Bond is enjoying a peaceful life, when Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) his old friend from the CIA, arrives looking for help.

Asked to track down a missing scientist, Bond is set on a collision course with a mysterious new villain in possession of a dangerous technology, which in turn leads him to cross paths with his former employers at MI6 and a brand new double O agent (Lashana Lynch).

Nomi (Lashana Lynch) and James Bond (Daniel Craig) in No Time To Die.

Nomi (Lashana Lynch) and James Bond (Daniel Craig) in No Time To Die, an EON Productions and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios film. - Credit: Nicola Dove © 2020 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM.

At two hours and 45 minutes, No Time To Die is the longest Bond film yet, and it’s clear Craig and the writing team were desperate to send the actor out on a high, following the disappointment of 2015’s Spectre.

Most Read

In press interviews for the film Craig admitted they "wanted to throw the kitchen sink at this one" and it definitely shows.

There is plenty to like about No Time To Die. The opening hour is gripping, full of breakneck action and shocking betrayals, however the insistence to link events back to previous instalments bogs the film down.

Continuing the overarching narrative begun in Spectre – a film which unwisely tried to tie together all of Craig’s previous outings – the plot is overstuffed and convoluted.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) visits Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) in his prison cell in No Time To Die.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) visits Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) in his prison cell in No Time To Die, a DANJAQ and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. - Credit: Nicola Dove, © 2019 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM.

The inclusion of Christoph Waltz's Blofeld from said film, only serves to dilute the impact of Rami Malek’s chief villain Safin, whom despite being a rather generic Bond baddie – facially scarred with a foreign accent – is a chilling villain and would have benefited from more screen time.

Performance wise, Léa Seydoux shines as Bonds love interest and is refreshingly given a much more prominent role than most Bond girls. However, this is clearly Daniel Craig’s picture. 

In a role he’s embraced and transformed since his initial casting in 2005, he embodies the grizzled veteran agent better than ever before.

Rami Malek as villain Safin in new James Bond movie No Time To Die.

Rami Malek as villain Safin in new James Bond movie No Time To Die. - Credit: Nicola Dove © 2019 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM.

The personal stakes of the plot allow him to give the character more emotional depth, dropping the hardened façade on occasion to reveal Bonds rarely seen tender side.

While elements of No Time To Die are copy and paste Bond 101, it does try its best to break the mould.

Whether those bold decisions work will be for the viewer to decide, and it’s already clear there will be many of those, with the film shaping up to be a huge hit and a welcome shot in the arm for cinemas after a torrid couple of years.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Paloma (Ana de Armas) in No Time To Die.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Paloma (Ana de Armas) in No Time To Die. - Credit: Nicola Dove © 2020 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM.

The most personal Bond film since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, No Time To Die is a bloated but entertaining slice of spy action.

While it doesn’t reach the heights of either Casino Royale or Skyfall, it does deliver on spectacle, providing blockbuster thrills and a poignant send off for Craig as one of cinema’s most recognisable icons.

Daniel Craig as James Bond in No Time To Die, an EON Productions and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios film.

Daniel Craig as James Bond in No Time To Die, an EON Productions and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios film. - Credit: Nicola Dove, © 2020 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM.


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter