No Time to Die

No Time to Die ★★★★★

"You have all the time in the world."

I saw this last night and reader, I'm still a mess. Bond has always been and always will be my favorite film franchise of all-time and by far the most important one in regards to informing my tastes and desires for cinema of its kind but never before have I seen a Bond film seemingly tailored perfectly to what my tastes have evolved to. Cary Fukanaga confidently stepped up to the plate for Craig's last outing as Bond and made No Time to Die a stupendously ambitions self-assured detail-oriented neo-classical epic that is incomprehensibly huge in both its stakes and emotional scope. It's messy and over-reaches at almost every given opportunity but nevertheless has a firm grasp on its accomplishments.

Fukanaga directs each moment not just with verve and edge but with a cinematic romanticism I feel like I haven't actually seen in ages. The music swoons and booms and the camera maintains not only a perfect sense of spectacle but also of genuine appreciation for the bodies on screen and visual expressionism. It perhaps tops Casino Royale in regards to being the most artfully and skillfully directed Bond film. The set-pieces are some of the best ever and it's more intimate moments of melodrama are disarmingly transfixing.

One thing that must not go over-looked is how this accomplishes an immense tight-rope walk of tone and narrative goal. Capping off the first run of films to canonize Bond's humanity and trauma is no small task but Fukanaga does so with sincerity and grace and respect for the Bond legacy on top of it. One final needle-drop within the very end of the film is one of the most strikingly beautiful grace notes I've seen in any movie. It takes a comfortably conventional structural approach for Bond and fills it with subtly radical narrative beats and thematic explorations that at times can be clumsy but at their best, end up as some of the best moments and sequences this franchise has ever produced. Might not be a perfect film but it's a Bond masterpiece and at this rate Bond is a genre and medium all his own.

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