James Bond finally in the cinema: what’s “No Time to Die” like? – Culture

There is a moment very early in the film that many fans will find it hard to piss off. The sun is shining, James Bond is driving a winding Italian mountain road, and next to him is Madeleine Swann, played by Léa Seydoux. This is the woman he rescued from the clutches of his archenemy Blofeld in the previous film, and whom he loves.

Everything is wonderful, you think, and over the roar of the Aston Martin’s engines, Madeleine even asks if Bond could maybe step on the gas a little more. Just for fun, there are no pursuers in sight. Bond shakes his head gently. “We have all the time in the world,” he says.

“We have all the time in the world” is the name of the old bond song, sung by Louis Armstrong, the melody of which the soundtrack also quotes at this moment. And perhaps the author of this text is not the only one who is immediately thrown back into the past, into a Bond film, which for him, in a re-release in the cinema, was even the first: “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”

At the end of it, James Bond had just saved the world, as always, but this time he had married too. His bride was sitting next to him, they were driving down a winding mountain road, the end credits had to come at any moment. Instead the killers came, the bride bled to death in Bond’s arms, Louis Armstrong sang. Seldom have teenage tears flowed hotter.

In the new film “No Time to Die”, nothing happens after this strange omen. Bond and Swann arrive in the picturesquely nested world heritage town of Matera and move into a beautiful hotel room for a night of love. You could really get into something as serious as you suddenly start talking about your feelings, but the teenager from back then wants to shake you: For God’s sake, danger!

The next morning, Bond is attacked by Blofeld’s henchmen on a bridge, like a thousand times before, and there are a few spectacular stunts. But as always, he can deal with the attackers. However, his trust in Madeleine Swann is gone, she must have lured Blofeld’s killer.

Bond, like his creator, now lives in retirement in Jamaica

The two split up, which is of course a shame and also a triumph for Blofeld, who is still alive in the form of Christoph Waltz and is incarcerated in a British maximum security prison. But is it the very big catastrophe that would justify this ominous appeal to Louis Armstrong?

Five years in time, Bond has been left alone, apparently he no longer trusts anyone, and he lives – like his literary creator Ian Fleming – in retirement in Jamaica. At the moment of their reunion, he has just harpooned a few fish and is taking a shower in the jungle. Is that supposed to fill his days now?

But no, of course not, this time it’s his old friend from the CIA who pulls him into a new world annihilation plot. Next up is the riot in Cuba, where it briefly looks as if Bond has fallen into a deadly trap again, but instead Blofeld’s allies are killed with a completely new weapon made of nanobots that was stolen from an intelligence laboratory – stupidly a British one.

Here at the latest it gets too complicated for quick explanations, but the director Cary Fukunaga stages it so quickly that you just jump over the logical gaps. At least one can remember that there is a new super villain named Safin. He hates Blofeld and his troops at least as much as Bond. Rami Malek, who last played Freddie Mercury and won an Oscar with it, impressively plays him with a poisonous face and lurking, severely traumatized friendliness.

Always at the front of the gas yourself? Sorry, Mr. Bond, you can’t do that anymore. Lashana Lynch as agent Nomi and Daniel Craig in “No Time to Die”.

(Photo: Nicola Dove / Danjaq LLC / MGM)

After sequences in which Bond is reconciled with Madeleine and is hunted together with her, including through a Norwegian cloud forest, everything ends on a brutally bunkered island that belongs to Safin. This is where the annihilation of mankind is supposed to begin somehow, but why and how exactly is more unclear than ever before with Bond, and that has really never been particularly clear.

As always, it is clear that Bond is caught in an endless loop. An endless loop of eternal virility and fighting power and invincibility that has been winding for almost sixty years. Bond has to experience the same things over and over again, over and over again defeat the same persecutors, he has to recite the same sentences ad infinitum, shaken, not moved, literally or in tiny variations. Forever ageless, forever fit and inviolable, with forever new women at his side and forever inexhaustible resources straight from the state treasury. Wasn’t that the dream?

And yet there is this ingeniously irritating moment in “No Time to Die”. Bond is surrounded by pursuers with his already quite demolished Aston Martin, who have stopped the car and surrounded it and are firing from all pipes at the bulletproof glass. It still holds up, but the windows are splintering more and more, it can’t go well for long. Madeleine sits next to him, winces at every hit and expects him to do the usual and strike back. But Bond doesn’t do anything.

She yells at him, but he still doesn’t do anything. Instead, there is a tiredness in Bond’s face and a futility in his gaze that seems to rise straight from the depths of Daniel Craig’s soul. There is a man sitting there who no longer likes. Who asks to be released from the endless loop of eternal virility and fighting power and invincibility, from the return of the same thing, which cannot just be paradise. But also hell.

Then the moment is over, Bond becomes active again, he fires back from all cylinders, and the two escape. The great and lasting truth of the film – it is already in this moment.

No Time To Die, UK / US 2021 – Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga. Book: Fukunaga, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Camera: Linus Sandgren. With Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Christoph Waltz. Universal, 163 minutes.

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