Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
James Bond has left active service. His peace is short-lived when Felix Leiter, an old friend from the CIA, turns up asking for help, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
Daniel Craig’s time as Bond has come to a close, and this film is his official swan song. I am a fan of the Bond films, but I have never considered myself a die hard (haven’t even seen them all). I have seen all of Craig’s Bond films, and he is easily my favorite due to a bit of nostalgia. No Time To Die brings in Cary Fukunaga to helm this final film, and his direction is just fantastic. He brings life to every single action sequence; even if the sequence is familiar, like a car chase, it always features something that will catch your attention and keep you locked in. It helps to see it on the biggest screen possible, but the experience will be great regardless.
The visuals in their entirety are just spectacular. From the fun and color-filled cinematography to the expertly crafted combat scenes, there is no denying the attention to detail here. Every explosion and gunshot packs a punch, as the sound design alone makes it a must-see in the theater. Beyond the action sequences, the character depth is what has to work here. Not only is the film trying to successfully cap off Craig’s story, but there are numerous other characters that have to get their due. Lea Seydoux gives an emotional performance, and she nails what we call the “cry face.” This sounds sarcastic, but she is so believable from an emotional standpoint.
Ana De Armas (who is apparently dating my friend Paul) is outstanding, but she is barely in the film. Her scenes almost feel unnecessary, but she was just so good. Speaking of “barely in the film,” Rami Malek doesn’t get a lot of screen-time. His presence is felt throughout, but he doesn’t have a lot of time to work with here. Beyond the typical “villainous takeover scheme” that we often see in spy movies, his intentions are well fleshed out. His motivations are made clear through flashbacks, and they do a nice job of exploring where his head is at. He is ominous, a bit haunting, and slightly scary. We also go down numerous rabbit holes with other characters that all provide something to the story. These subplots aren’t all necessary, as the run-time is long, but I was never bothered by that runtime.
What stands out is the level of emotion that we get from the screenplay. We all knew there would be emotions felt here, but we get some unexpected moments that will have long-time fans on cloud nine. The way it all comes together in the third act is simply perfect, and the culmination of everything is spectacular. Craig plays it in a way we have never seen from him before, and his love for the character shines through. No Time To Die just does a great job of nailing the proper sense of finality, and we get so many throwbacks, callbacks, and moments. That classic Bond humor is also present, and it adds a nice touch to the more intense scenes. Some of the story flaws are evident, but I am able to look past them due to the sheer entertainment value presented here. This final film is awesome, and it somewhat blew me away.
🔙No One Gets Out Alive