No Time to Die [8/10]

Seeing the latest James Bond movie is a ritual, but not always a huge pleasure. Daniel Craig has added gravitas to the Bond legend but the last two Bond outings provoked an identical reaction in me: I rocked up to the cinema with anticipation but walked out shaking my head at plot inanities. Thankfully, Craig’s final Bond appearance in “No Time to Die” has cemented his reputation, for this instalment in the Bond series is a hoot of a fine thriller. Amazing set-piece scenery wonderfully shot, coupled with suitably ludicrous but gasp-worthy violence, are a given in Bond films, and No Time to Die never disappoints. Craig emotes far more than usual, adding depth to the movie’s otherwise cartoonish flavor; in particular, Rami Malek’s portrayal as the obligatory arch-villain is solid but campy. The other key actors are well cast and capable; kudos to Ralph Fiennes as M and Ben Whishaw as Q. The plot is the customary throwaway nonsense but who cares? Cary Joji Fukunaga’s direction is flawless and the action rockets along with few pauses and no clunkers. Loud, fast, thrilling, No Time to Die left me glad for the end of lockdown.

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