No Time to Die

By Joanna Langfield

This may not be the Bond we want, but could it be the Bond we need?

Pandemic weary audiences might be clamoring for a slick, action packed, sexy adventure, complete with gorgeous people, even more beautiful scenery and a heroic ending, set to a theme song we all grew up with.  And wouldn’t that be fun? But. It’s not this, the final chapter in Daniel Craig’s tenure as 007, movie’s fault that it was filmed, let alone conceived years before the world shut down. And, for better or worse, they had a plan in place. And now we’re all stuck with it.

There’s a story here, but not an interesting enough one to detail. Suffice it to say, Bond, who retired after possibly being duped by his wife (the nubile Lea Seydoux, in a return appearance) is called back into action because there’s a bad guy threatening to destroy the world. Or something like that. Four screenwriters patched this thing together, with a few smart lines, presumably thanks to Phoebe Waller-Bridge. But what makes this one work, when it does, is when it forgets that it’s a Bond movie and goes for something far more interesting.

I know. Interesting. A word no action fan wants to hear. Worry not. There’s plenty of that and director Cary Joji Fukunaga brings it on, fast and furious. But, this too long film also asks some questions. Light stuff, about the meaning of life. What is love? And do we always have to glamourize the evil villains? Or maybe it’s just that Rami Malek is just kind of a blah baddie?

There are some undeniable bright spots along the way, thanks to returning players Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright and Ralph Fiennes. Lashana Lynch shows potential as a member of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, as does a glowy Billy Magnussen. Bravo to Ana de Armas, a knockout who knocks out the enemy with a style and voice as high as her heels. And to Craig, who digs in and gives an actual performance, reminding us of the soul inside the tuxedo, or, even better, the bathing suit.