"No Time to Die" (2021)- Movie Review

Written and Directed by Cary Fukunaga
Starring Daniel Craig, Lashana Lynch and Rami Malek

‘Satisfying Swansong’

Brawny beauties are seldom rewarded licenses to kill casino royalties in James Bond’s male-commanded movies. Owing to old-fashioned predilection towards shaken misogyny over stirred martini, Bond isn’t anymore Connery-stone hero whose goldeneyes pierced movie-goers in distant memory. For instance, Sam Mendes’ “Spectre” led sey-doux-uctive widows astray through writings on wall hinting they would die another day to save spies from harm’s way. In fairness, Bond has all-too-often dodged sexism’s bullets since 1950’s beginnings when females were conventionally seen as sexualized commodities in patriarchies. However, Double-O-Seven’s misogyny has achieved quantum inadequacy in series that’s otherwise aged like fine martini. Following feminist outcry, critics have debated if women can personify goldeneye. Nevertheless, 25 womens’ deaths over 60-year history (Rial, 2015) suggests contrary through positively shocking gender inequity. Could women save skyfalling spy deserving to live rather than die?

Now, Bond’s back and demonstrates rewarding money-penniless females licenses to kill is classiest way to bid misogynist dinosaur falling from sky with no time to die goodbye in Cary Fukunaga’s long-awaited film “No Time to Die”. Action-packed, empowering and soul-stirring, it culminates Cinema’s longest-running franchise through feminist paradise. With Bond’s blockbuster, Fukunaga stirs feminist opportunities into shaken franchise through womens’ money-penny capabilities. Boasting heart-pounding action, spellbinding storytelling and extraordinary performances, it’s double-o-seven’s farewell. Although “No Time to Die” is unforgettable, it isn’t flawless. It’s overlong, and lacks multidimensional antagonists. Nonetheless, it provides exhilarating entertainment that’ll delight franchise fans.

“No Time to Die” follows Britain’s world-weary spy removed from temporary retirement on finale globe-trotting journey to finally challenge mortality. Daniel Craig reprises his James Bond persona, a haggard agent seeking to circumvent past. However, Bond’s hopes are diminished when worldwide catastrophes attract him into active services. Accompanied by feminist spy Nomi (Lashana Lynch), Bond aspires to defeat enigmatic adversaries. As time terminates, Bond discovers legacy.

Cary Fukunaga is familiar with legacy themes. Ever since he achieved worldwide recognition in 2015 with “Beasts of No Nation”, Fukunaga has become an extraordinary filmmaker. His award-winning “Beasts of No Nation” documented eye-opening glimpse into African child soldiers’ self-discovery expeditions during genocide. With “No Time to Die”, however, Fukunaga constructs his first espionage blockbuster. It’s Fukunaga’s first endeavor to reconceptualize Cinema’s world-famous franchise through feminism, but he accomplishes it seamlessly. Using spellbinding cinematography, Fukunaga immerses viewers into Bond’s conclusive globe-trotting journey toward immortality. Inspired by Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman”, Fukunaga avoids hypersexualizing womens’ bodies using handheld cinematography. If 1960’s Bond classics objectified women by shooting their bodies from voyeuristic male gaze, Fukunaga respects women from female gaze. Working alongside cinematographer Linus Sandgren, Fukunaga meticulously employs handheld cameras to empower females. Fukunaga excels at feminizing James Bond, and his latest movie deserves theatrical viewing for this reason alone.

If legendary spies’ feminist reinterpretations don’t attract your attention, though, there are plenty of other reasons to see “No Time to Die”. For a Bond blockbuster, it’s no surprise “No Time to Die’s” central attraction is death-defying to-die-for action. Fukunaga successfully employs practical stuntworks to communicate Bond’s aged-retirement defenselessness. Accompanied by stunt-coordinator Lee Morrison, Fukunaga ingeniously employs practical stuntwork to construct action demonstrating Bond’s out-of-element fights. For example, practical stuntwork is efficiently employed in aston-martin car chase scene. During this awe-inspiring scene, Bond and his girlfriend are pursued across Italy’s streets in broken-down vehicles by enemies. One must acknowledge Batman-inspired stuntwork demonstrating 007’s susceptible position as a backbreaking spy in hard-hitting style reminiscent of Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises”. Through sensational stuntwork, Fukunaga demonstrates Bond’s transformation from invincible hero to downtrodden spy. Furthermore, Hans Zimmer’s score’s praiseworthy. Billie Eilish’s titular-tune celebrates 1960’s Bond. Through superb production, Fukunaga honors espionage.

Another extraordinary aspect of “No Time to Die” is screenplay. Fukunaga’s greatest screenwriting accomplishment is his aptitude for building brawny female characters using flashbacks in chauvinistic franchise. Given double-o-seven standard gender stereotypes, women have all-too-often been reduced to superficial damsels-in-distress whose purpose is to sleep with Bond and get murdered. This has cultivated little gender equality and commemorated sexism. Fortunately, however, that certainly isn’t complication plaguing “No Time to Die”. Fukunaga judiciously circumvents misogynistic mythologies of previous franchise movies. Deriving inspiration from Marvel’s “Black Widow”, Fukunaga ingeniously employs flashbacks to craft humane heroines with backstories. As case in point, Dr. Madeleine Swann’s a complex woman whose persona’s impacted by traumatic childhood tragedy. Fukunaga simultaneously switches between two timelines: Madeleine’s tragic childhood and contemporary expeditions. Recalling Natasha Romanoff’s blood-curling adolescent trafficking memories, Madeleine’s flashbacks communicate background information. Using flashbacks, Fukunaga creates a multidimensional heroine. In sexist franchise, it demonstrates representation. Through feminist storytelling, Fukunaga humanizes female assassins.

One can’t overlook outstanding performances.

Daniel Craig delivers his finest performance as James Bond. Following Martin Campbell’s “Casino Royale” introduction, Craig has instilled cold-hearted masculinity into the legendary spy. With “No Time to Die”, however, he’s finally rewarded opportunity to emanate vulnerability. It’s not simple to abandon a celebrated spy’s suit and tie, but Craig accomplishes it effortlessly. Emulating Timothy Dalton in John Glen’s “License to Kill”, Craig creates a disillusioned agent that desires to reclaim long-lost glory. With spellbinding expressions, he captures alcoholism, frustrations and lifelong resentments of a haggard spy that isn’t adored anymore. It’s a career-defining performance representing emotional farewell to legendary icon.

Lashana Lynch is fantastic in the role of a fierce female employee tasked with replacing male-occupied 007 profession. Evoking Jodie Foster in Jonathan Demme’s “The Silence of the Lambs”, Lynch crafts an inspirational woman criticizing workplace sexism. As Nomi, Lynch demonstrates talent for signifying feminist tension through body-language. Whether she’s heading toe-to-toe with Bond over 007 contestants or challenging gender difference, Lynch successfully employs non-verbal gestures to create an outspoken feminist. If forthcoming 007 were truly female, Lynch would be a bondable contender.

The concluding standout is Léa Seydoux. As a tormented women with traumatized backstory, she incorporates mystery into storytelling.

Despite fantastic performances, however, “No Time to Die” serves stirred spectral rather than shaken goldfinger martinis that don’t always glisten as brightly as casino royale lotteries stolen by Bond’s greatest Dr. No. 1 enemies. Accompanied by Hans Zimmer’s dynamic score, Fukunaga keeps the movie moving at an engrossing pace during first hour. However, once the film enters climax, it loses steam and exhausts viewers’ patience. Moreover, the film lacks well-defined villains. Fukunaga’s decision to build villains with facial disfigurements doesn’t entirely work. In spite of Rami Malek’s committed performance, Safin’s a caricature baddie without convincing motivation. Whereas this facially-deformed villain worked in Terence Young’s “Dr. No”, he conflicts with this film’s contemporary setting. While demeaning disabilities portrayals may have been acceptable in 1960’s, they feel out-of-place in otherwise modernized Bond reimagining. Therefore, “No Time to Die” falters.

Nevertheless, franchise fans will undoubtedly enjoy “No Time to Die” and so will movie-goers seeking touching entertainment. A fantastic feminist farewell, it demonstrates womens’ capabilities deserve appreciation in 007’s masculine series. If goldeneye wants to live amidst 21st century, he must find quantum of feminism solace by acting on her majesty’s secret service orders giving women views to kill dr. no enemies despite shaken over stirred martinis preferences that’ve in-flemed centuries-old gender disparities.

4/5 stars

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