• 23 Oct - 29 Oct, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

To start with, director Cary Fukunaga delivers Craig’s final film as bond with terrific panache, and the film also shows us a romantic Bond, a uxorious Bond, a Bond who is unafraid of showing his feelings, like the old softie he’s turned out to be.

A queasy and dreamlike prelude hints at a terrible formative trauma in the childhood of Dr Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), that enigmatic figure we saw in the last movie who is now enjoying a romantic getaway with James. But a shocking act of violence destroys their idyll, as we knew it must, and Bond has some spectacular stunts as he hurls himself from a bridge.

It all has a lot to do with a sinister biowarfare plan called “Heracles” being developed by M (Ralph Fiennes) using a renegade scientist Obruchev (David Dencik) – but both creepy boffin and weapon are stolen in a sequence of preposterous action comedy, incidentally involving a sullen, bickering functionary played in cameo by Hugh Dennis.

Both MI6 and the CIA want Obruchev back – but British intelligence does not care to involve Bond who is now in retirement in Jamaica, perhaps in tribute to Ian Fleming’s holiday retreat, and M has handed over his 007 status to a new agent Nomi, stylishly played by Lashana Lynch.

But the Americans, in the form of his old buddy Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) and an uptight new state department appointee Logan Ash (Billy Magnussen) persuade Bond to take on the job as a freelance, and send him to Cuba, where he liaises with an untrained operative: Paloma (Ana de Armas).

The awful truth is that M has allowed “Heracles” to be compromised by the creepy Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) who is being kept by the Brits in Lecter-ish imprisonment, but has managed to direct this new plan from his hi-tech cell, but who is now himself under attack by the new ubervillain in town – Safin (Rami Malek), another in the endless gallery of antagonists who have conceived a personal obsession with Bond himself.

It is of course a festival of absurdity and complication, a headspinning world of giant plot mechanisms. But it is very enjoyable and gleefully spectacular – Craig and Seydoux and Malek sell it very hard. No Time To Die is startling, exotically self-aware, funny and confident.