For the fifth and last time he is to save the world: In “No Time to Die” Daniel Craig bids farewell to James Bond – and completes his radical reinvention of the legendary secret agent. The film is now running on German television for the first time.
The expectations of this film were larger than life right from the start: In “James Bond: No Time to Die” Daniel Craig is supposed to save the world one last time – and the cinema year at the same time, maybe even the continued existence of the cinema institution. Many therefore expected Craig to put a spectacular end to his five bets. Delivering a finale with a bang that will be remembered for a long time.
The latter, so much can already be revealed, should have been successful. However, different than most probably expected.
Because this film has little of a brightly colored farewell party. Instead, the film is immersed in a deep minor from the first minute. A heavy, dark cloud hangs over the events, which will at best dissipate for brief moments over the course of the 163 minutes.
James Bond on love vacation
At the beginning we see the secret agent on a love vacation in Italy, together with the psychologist Dr. Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), who had already piqued his interest in the previous adventure “Spectre”. But of course the happiness doesn’t last long.
Here the film goes back to 2006: In “Casino Royale”, the first of the five Craig films, the notorious loner Bond had trusted a woman against his nature – and was disappointed. Which only made him more cynical.
Now he wants to forget Vesper Lynd and try love again. But the cozy togetherness is soon disturbed. Bond feels betrayed by a woman again, leaves her and disappears. Cannot be found for five years, not even the British secret service knows his whereabouts.
007 is someone else now
Finally, his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA tracks him down to Jamaica, where the former agent spends his time fishing. And reactivates him: He is supposed to save the world again, one last time. The organization Specter has stolen dangerous bio-pathogens with which they can wipe out masses of people.
Bond realizes that the situation is serious when the MI6 agent named Nomi (Lashana Lynch) also shows up. In his absence, she was promoted to double-zero agent and took over his inheritance: 007 – that’s her now.
And James Bond a numberless nobody. However, he has not completely forgotten his old skills. And so it starts all over again: A chase across several continents, in which the viewer doesn’t always immediately understand who is flying where and why and fighting each other. The plot seems like a deliberate parody of the past 24 Bond adventures, the content of which consisted of such breathless races around the world again and again.
Daniel Craig’s radical reinvention of the secret agent
At a time when the climate catastrophe has caught up with mankind, James Bond also recognizes that things cannot go on like this. That the old patterns of behavior and role models no longer work. Who got the planet into a mess that humanity can’t seem to get out of. In one scene, Bond and his boss M (Ralph Fiennes) stand on the banks of the Thames and talk about the motives of the latest bully, Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek). “What can he want? – What they all want.”
Everything has already been seen, everything has been: Fiennes not only seems tired in this scene, like the god Wotan in “Ring des Nibelungen”, who sends his creature one last time to bring redemption to the planet. “No Time to Die” shows parallels to Richard Wagner’s “Götterdämmerung” not only because of the enormous length of this longest Bond film of all time. It’s the whole atmosphere: The film manages to keep the viewer in a gloomy, doomed mood for around three hours, which keeps delaying the longed-for salvation. The conflagration can be averted in the end – but not every god will get away scot-free.
This may not be what hardcore fans expected, but it is extremely artistic and unique in its execution. Because Cary Fukunaga (director and screenwriter) and Purvis
“No Time To Die” completes what began in 2006 with “Casino Royale”: the reinvention of the character of the secret agent, who comes from an infinitely distant era: In 1962, the world was in the Cold War and the patriarchy was still firmly in the saddle. But the world has changed, and with it the people: Daniel Craig recognized this in the course of his five films – and drew his conclusions from it. How radical they are becomes clear in this finale, which literally lets the character cross borders.
“No Time To Die” closes the Craig years
“No time to die” not only concludes the pentalogy of the Craig years, it spans a wide arc that connects it with the history of the 25 James Bond films. The finale, for example, plays – a reminiscence of the first mission in “James Bond hunts Dr. No” – on a remote island. The only difference: back then the danger was radioactivity – today it’s bioweapons. The hostile secret organization was called then as now: Specter.
The location in film history becomes even clearer with the use of Louis Armstrong’s “We Have All The Time In The World”, which is used as a motif in the soundtrack and even sounds in full length in the credits. Certainly not a random choice: It was the song for George Lazenby’s only assignment “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” – in which the womanizer allowed himself to be tamed and married.
The transformation of Craig’s character is very similar. Love and trust – these are also his themes. Incidentally, for the first time in history, an almost equal character is created alongside James Bond: Madeleine Swann, played by Léa Seydoux, becomes three-dimensional. Already in “Spectre” she was introduced as a strong, independent personality – now she gets her own story. Her own past, her own traumas and injuries, which make her the ideal and only conceivable partner for Bond.
The best film in the Bond series
This also moves this film away from earlier parts of this agent series, where women served at best as a visual adornment for the viewer and as a pastime for James Bond.
“No Time To Die” will divide audiences. Daniel Craig himself considers this film to be his best of the series – a verdict that one can wholeheartedly agree with. On the other hand, not everyone will like how radically the actor has transformed the former hero.
Craig won’t care. During his first bet “Casino Royale” he made it clear what he thought of the opinions of others: “Do I look like I give a damn?”
“James Bond: No time to die” runs from June 3rd as a TV and streaming premiere with a subscription to Sky and Sky Ticket