Prudent to Pray: 007’s Latest
No Time to Die is the last of the cinematic incarnations of James Bond personified by Daniel Craig. In some ways, it’s a sequel to its most immediate predecessor, Spectre(2015), and includes several returning actors/characters from that film: Léa Seydoux as 007’s love interest (the only “Bond Girl” ever to reprise her role) and Christoph Waltz as archvillain Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
It’s another rollicking adventure and a fitting conclusion to Mr. Craig’s 16-year run as the most famous and notorious MI6 operative of them all. I suppose I’ll always think of Sean Connery as the best Bond, but Daniel Craig is second-best and a close second at that.
I’d rank Connery’s performance in Goldfinger (1964) as the best followed by Craig’s in Casino Royale (2006). That’s also the way I’d rank the films themselves, except in reverse.
The five Bond movies with Craig have given us a 007 with a somewhat richer psychological profile. He falls in love and suffers for it. First, it’s Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) in Casino Royale and, last, it’s Madeleine Swann (Miss Seydoux). Now in his 50s, it’s not hard for Mr. Craig’s Bond to seem worn down by his life as a secret agent. He’s a man who wants out, as was starting to become apparent in Skyfall, high on my list of favorite Bond movies.
In that 2012 film, Bond escapes with MI6 head “M” (played by Judy Dench) – to his eponymous ancestral home in Scotland. It turns out Skyfall has a priest door (and tunnel), a place where – during the Reformation, when Catholic clergy faced death in England, Wales, and Scotland – a recusant family could hide a priest. Bond escapes pursuers via that 16th-century tunnel. M dies in Skyfall’s chapel. Bond, of course, survives.