Rafael Jovine’s review published on Letterboxd:
After fifteen years as Vibd, and almost six decade since the first Bond film saw the light, Daniel Craig's Bond comes to its conclusion. The long-awaited Bond takes no time whatsoever to capture the essence of the whole series with Daniel, which has been, to some degree, the way it has never been afraid to take risks. Though it is possible to trace the personality of this Bond to many of the Bonds of the past, such as Dalton or Brosnan, Craig has succeeded in making his films feel distinctively his own. Even though each new installment had some parallels to the Bonds of the past, the novelty has always been at the forefront.
This is apparent right away from the opening scene, which does not feature Bond, but gives us a glimpse of the main themes and conflict, as we then see 007 enjoying a romantic time with his lady love, something entirely different from the action setpieces that have become a hallmark of the franchise.
The romantic moments are enhanced by Hans Zimmer's gorgeous score that transports us to this dreamy time and place. I also liked the way the composer uses the film's main theme at key moments as a form of a motif. It was also interesting to see Zimmer make little nods to other films in the series, such as On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
This doesn't mean it's all drama with little action. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Every now and then, the film presents us with some explosive sequence that feels very typical of the franchise up to this point, albeit a bit more modern, to sequences like the one presented in the trailers with the vehicle with the guns, which felt like a cross between James Bond and Mission Impossible. The level of violence and action is almost at the level of Quantum of Solace and Tomorrow Never Dies, although compared to Quantum the editing is better and the actions are more elaborate. This fine film's cinematography combined with its sound mix, plus Fukunaga's skillful direction, makes the viewer feel further immersed in the film's tension. In terms of technical work, Craig's saga has been the best out of all of them.
As for the performances, Craig finally seems he wants to be in here and the film allows him to chop off many of his skills as an actor. On the one hand we get to see some of the brooding side he has been developing since "Casino Royale", with a transition towards the more relaxed and witty side of 007 shown through funny jokes or witty comments. Ben Whishaw's cheeky personality feels less cringe-inducing and quirky compared to the previous installment, with the sarcastic nature of his character feeling much polished resulting in a sharper comedic timing. Lashana Lynch is great, and I enjoyed the little buddy cop dynamic and banter between her and Craig. Dali Benssalah as one of the main antagonists was great, posing as a nice real threat to our agent. Malek reminded me a lot of Dr. No. and even Blofeld, not in his plans and personality, but rather in the way he feels like a looming presence, his name literally evoking the confines of hell itself, making him this sort of demon from the past, a reflection of all the previous villains, molded into this man with a thirst for vengeance and a mentality straight out of a Roger Moore baddie.
All in all, easily one of the most entertaining entries in the entire franchise that concludes the saga in a way that personally wasn't as emotional as the film wanted it to, but I appreciated it for what it offered nonetheless. Some may feel the three hours, especially in the third act, but not to the point of dread or boredom.
Also in a way, the film seems to indicate that all Bond films are connected.... or maybe that was just a fancy easter eggs. For those who have seen it, I would just say "painting at the MI6 office".
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