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No Time To Die - An Excellent End to The Craig Era

No Time To Die - An Excellent End to The Craig Era

James Bond (Daniel Craig) has retired to Jamaica after years of apprehending Blofeld (Christoph Waltz). When CIA agent Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) contacts Bond for one last job, he finds himself pitted against the villainous Safin (Rami Malek) and forced to unearth the secrets of Madeleine Swan (Léa Seydoux).

Making a Bond film is a difficult task. But the 25th film in the series feels like the most difficult yet: surviving a departing director (Danny Boyle, who was replaced by Cary Fukunaga due to the dreaded "creative differences"), a two-year delay caused by the pandemic, and an outgoing 007 in Daniel Craig, who previously claimed (in a quote that would later haunt him) that he'd rather "slash [his] wrists" than play Bond again. There was more than enough time for No Time To Die to pass away.

“We have all the time in the world,” Craig's Bond says in this film, a beautiful allusion to On Her Majesty's Secret Service. It's not the first time this film has made a reference to George Lazenby's since-rehabilitated 1969 one-off, and it feels right. Because, although relying heavily on tropes that feel not just familiar but also cozy, this film does things no Bond film has ever done, it is the unusual things it does that make this such an exciting entrance.

Bond is in the process of retiring. He's turned his back on MI6 for the first half of the film, and there are lots of references to how he's past his prime, a "old wreck," as he calls himself. Craig can still pull off a tux, but he's a couple years older than he was in 2006's Casino Royale, which plays into his hands. His acting is the most interesting it has ever been in this picture, with the playboyish smile juxtaposed with a stoic inner conflict. This Bond is more passionate, impetuous, sensitive, and — dare we say — romantic, giving a decades-old character surprising new dimensions.

Fukunaga's action seems to partly ape John Wick, with an emphasis on sharp, savage gunfights and intense chase sequences, whereas Craig's earlier films showed influence from the grittiness of Bourne, and while Craig's earlier films showed influence from the grittiness of Bourne, Fukunaga's action seems to partly ape John Wick, with an emphasis on sharp, savage gunfights and intense chase sequences. There's a groundedness and muscularity to it, with hints of a paranoid conspiracy thriller, thanks to the supporting characters — Ana De Armas in a small but winning replay of the Knives Out chemistry she shared with Craig; Lashanna Lynch as a rival 00 agent with her own brand of swagger.


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