‘No Time to Die’: A Pandemic Era Reading/Review from Singapore

‘No Time to Die’ is Daniel Craig’s swan song (a pun on his on screen partners name, with whom he has a complicated relationship and a blue eyed daughter). The Bond film is the final film in the series where Bond dies (sorry for the spoilers) as this is Craig’s final film. So the end, has to come. The death is impending, lingering in the air. Therefore, the haste to die is apparent in the 2 hour 45 minute odd film, is stretched and crafted in each frame.

Casino Royale to Skyfall to Spectre to Quantum of Solace is a smooth narrative train of a decade. The cinematography seems to captivate attention with even better sound design. It gives the viewer the ring side experience. I watched two previous Bond films in Singapore and had reviewed the movie on the blog. The past decade has been of tumult, and a roll coaster ride, on a personal note reflective of a bond film scape. The first movie in a theatre after 18 months, being a Bond film adds the zing back in an era where the present and future is sometimes a matter of survival. The energy levels felt right, taking me back to my pre pandemic era, in Singapore, Dubai and Pune where my last movie in a theatre was the Oscar winning Korean film ‘The Parasite’. Unlike the Parasite, or even The Skyfall (https://changethinker.com/2012/11/12/de-mystifying-skyfall-positioning-bond-in-the-post-networked-era/) there was not much to theoretically unpack here. The bioweapon, is in sync with the Zeitgeist cuts close in a pandemic.

The movie has bollywood-esque dialogue scenes and is chatty, with an English wit. The gizmos on the Aston Martin cars, were a throw back to Roger Moore films such as Octopussy.

The progressive politics of this woke paradigm makes its acute presence felt as a black woman is designated 007 (although as Bond says upon coming to know the fact as he was in retirement, that ‘Its only a number’ albeit with a lump in the throat). The non state actor hijacking the state state’s capacity to protect the citizen has been the theme of the past few Bond films, which is a post 9/11 development. I wondered in the midst of all the churning of the past two years, what does a Bond film speak to us especially from Asia, from Singapore. That some things such as the Bond film franchise is served as it is- with a cold war hangover, macho and non decolonialised. The final scene is from a fictional Russian missile and submarine base next to Japan that serves as the non state actor’s bioweapon manufacturing facility. The visuals from Italy, Norway and London are stunning.

Vodka Martini’s are best served shaken and not stirred. The line made me smirk again. Thank you very much for the entertainment, Mr. Craig.

Writing a movie review after eons is a privilege in the midst of a pandemic where only the vaccinated elite are allowed to enter a movie hall and only with one other person. Makes one think of geographies of risk and exclusion, in accessing geographies of leisure. Looking forward to learn about the new Bond actor.

Must watch for Bond and Daniel Craig fans.

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