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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Shaken, not stirred!

Review by Ben Soton

No Time to Die (2021): EON Productions for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Cert 12A; 2hrs 43mins. Stars: Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Léa Seydoux and Rami Malek. Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga. Writers (story and screenplay): Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Cary Joji Fukunaga. No Time to Die

EARLIER this year I renewed the insurance for my relatively modest hatchback. Like most motorists, I was shocked at the exorbitant cost. As I watched the car chase in the latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, I wondered what the cost would be if I had stated my name was Bond, James Bond.

The English answer to ‘Batman’ with his bizarre gadgets and his “licence to kill” was a man whom many teenage boys in the 1960s want to be. The creation of former Naval Intelligence Officer Ian Fleming, the original books were written in the 1950s and the film spin-offs have been going strong since 1962.

No Time to Die begins where the previous film Spectre left off, with Bond driving off into the sunset with femme fatal Madeline Swan (played by Lea Seydoux). His idyllic life with Swan is interrupted by a series of dramatic events and the uncovering of the usual evil plot.

Bond soon returns to his old job at MI6, only to find his position has been filled by another agent. An evil genius threatens humanity with a virus spread by nano-bots inside the bloodstream; not far from the conspiracies spread by the anti-vaccine brigade. There is an ironic choice of the film’s theme tune of Louis Armstrong’s All the Time in The World; the same music as On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, where Bond’s new wife (played by Diana Rigg) dies in the final scene.

Many liberals point out that in Daniel Craig’s films, of which No Time to Die is number five, the position of women has changed significantly since the days of Sean Connery. This misses the point, however. In every film, Bond defends the status quo. At the climax of the film Bond confronts the villain Safin (played by Remi Malek), who points out that he wants to change the world and Bond wants to keep things the same. Bond describes people who want to change the world as angry little men; thus, the message of the films is that change equals madness. In other words, a thoroughly reactionary narrative.

Safin’s choice of base is in the Kurill Islands, a territory disputed between Russia and Japan. The base is surrounded by decaying Soviet iconography, creating a false connection between socialism and evil madmen threatening global stability. Although most Bond films promote a reactionary narrative there are two possible exceptions: the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me, where Bond works with a Soviet agent; and the 1997 film Tomorrow Never Dies, where he collaborates with an operative from People’s China. Even in these films however, he was still defending the status quo.

Ultimately, the Bond franchise remains one of the most successful in Western cinematic history and I do not blame anyone for watching them. Sadly the Soviets’ answer to 007, the far more sophisticated Colonel Stierlitz, has still to be aired by a British broadcaster.