The women of No Time to Die: Lashana Lynch, Léa Seydoux and Ana De Armastwitter/vizualizedream

After the screening of No Time to Die, one of my friends told me he didn’t enjoy the film that much because it breaks the James Bond movie rules. But for me, this rupture with James Bond’s past is precisely why I liked the 25th film in the Bond franchise directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga. It gave me hope that no matter how slowly, change is coming (or maybe it has already come). The world of mainstream cinema is becoming a friendlier, more diverse place that tries to break with Hollywood’s past dominated by sexism, racism, and toxic masculinity.

“It augurs a better future in which James Bond stops his mission of saving humanity to pick up a teddy bear, reveals that his heart is not made of stone, and respects the female characters’ ‘No’”

It was clear that in the post-#MeToo world, James Bond had to change. He could not remain the same emotionless, virile man who kills his enemies in cold blood and treats his female lovers as disposable sex objects. In No Time to Die, Bond is a retired agent who is in the middle of a romantic trip with his lover Madeleine (Léa Seydoux). But this time it seems that their relationship is not yet another short-lived love affair, but rather a deeper relationship built on true love with a bright, long future ahead.

The next surprise comes when it turns out that Bond was already replaced by a new 007 agent who turns out to be a sharp-tongued young woman Nomi (Lashana Lynch), always ready to come up with an intelligent retort to Bond’s bragging. The character of Nomi can be called a breakthrough figure in the James Bond franchise since ten years ago no one would have imagined that a James Bond film would feature a 007 agent played by a female actor of Jamaican descent. The wait has been far too long, and the 007 world is still predominantly white, but the character of Nomi can surely be seen as an important step forward in an attempt to break with Bond’s misogynistic and racist history.

Ana de Armas in No Time to Dietwitter/marisaonfilm

Another (and the most significant in the context of the #MeToo movement) rupture with James Bond’s past can be seen when a female agent Paloma (Ana de Armas) enters the plot. As soon as Bond and Paloma are all alone, Bond (un)subtly suggests they get to know each other better before they go on to perform their duties as agents. Yet the female character refuses, and the viewers are spared the spectacle of cheap nudity and fast sex sandwiched somewhere between a car chase scene and Bond’s killing of ten men in a row with his bare hands. Thanks to all these elements that try to break with the misogynistic James Bond tradition in the screenplay, No Time to Die can be seen as a harbinger of a paradigm shift in the film industry. It augurs a better future in which James Bond stops his mission of saving humanity to pick up a teddy bear, reveals that his heart is not made of stone, and respects the female characters’ ‘No.’

While the film looks to the future screenplay-wise, aesthetic-wise it is still deeply immersed in the past which could be seen as a sign of a certain kind of nostalgia that comes inevitably with the end of each era. Its polished cinematography, the use of dissolves, and theatricality of Craig’s and Seydoux’s performance at the beginning of the film are a nod to classical Hollywood cinema. The improbability of the majority of the events taking place on the screen, Bond’s reluctance to work with new technologies, and the use of basic ways of engaging the viewer in the film (such as the sudden explosions or deftly-montaged chase scenes characteristic of an action film), show that No Time to Die is still deeply rooted in the James Bond cinematic tradition. At one point, the main antagonist of the film, Safin (Rami Malek), says that people want oblivion. In these words, he expresses the essence of the cinema going experience. The dark cinema room guarantees a two-hour escape from the real world and it is precisely what we get in No Time to Die. Fukunaga’s film creates an immersive cinematic universe into which even the more sceptical viewers (like, for example, me) get sucked in after an initial moment of hesitation.


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The future of the James Bond franchise is certain in a sense that the series brings too big a revenue to the production companies, but it definitely leaves us unsure of what the new James Bond will become and whether it is going to follow the path it has set for itself in No Time to Die. The film still looks in the past with a certain kind of nostalgia, but at the same time it gestures towards a future in which James Bonds have feelings, women become spies, and villains want to destroy the world only because the world had profoundly hurt them. Personally, I can’t wait for more cult cinematic characters to finally show their human face.