James Bond fans have been waiting a while for their fix. When No Time To Die was delayed in March, we jonesed harder. But in the six long months since the 25th Bond film's original release date and the release of its new – and final – trailer, there has been some methadone available.
Taken at face value, Rian Johnson's Knives Out – released last year but now one of the best films on Amazon Prime – couldn't be further removed from high-gloss, big budget world of James Bond. A comic whodunnit, in which a murder in a Waspy New England family is investigated by a consulting detective with a southern drawl and proclivity for cigars, Knives Out is a beautifully slow-paced thing, full of red herrings and blind alleys, and very much of the magnifying glasses and mud samples school of crime-fighting.
Its big link to Bond, however, is that detective Benoit Blanc is played by Daniel Craig, and his foil – the medical assistant to the murdered man – is Ana de Armas, who also appears opposite Craig in No Time To Die as CIA agent Paloma. This is exciting, because the pair's repartee in Knives Out was the highlight of a film that's packed full of peaks. They're a double-act, then play a game of cat-and-mouse, which morphs into something more paternal. There's warmth and humour in spades. Frankly, the entire movie could just have been Craig and de Armas chatting by a fire and it would still have been one of 2019's best films. If they bring even an iota of that chemistry to No Time To Die then we're in for a very good Bond film indeed.
To date, however, de Armas has been conspicuously absent. Yes, she's there at the photo calls, and on the posters, as well as the accompanying marketing bumpf for jewellery partner Chopard. But in the actual trailers? Not so much. Or, rather, not so much until today.
In the new teaser, we finally get to see Paloma meeting Bond, having a drink with Bond, being tossed a submachine gun by Bond and, finally, booting a henchman through a wall (that one's all her). It's a 10-second sequence in the trailer, but even so there's a hint of that Knives Out frisson in her, "you're late", in his, "salud", in whatever that weird roll-up tuxedo thing is that she whips out for him.
Unfortunately, what we don't see is any evidence of what a few commentators have already pointed out – a change of clothes. To date, all the posters and all the teasers have shown de Armas wearing the same cocktail dress, which implies that she's only the film for a single scene (it's a touch skimpy for a pursuit along a moving train, or whatever else Bond gets up to in this one). And in the new trailer, again, she's wearing the cocktail dress.
So, it looks like de Armas's appearance will indeed be fleeting, which is a shame. Then again, the trailer does at least hint that this Bond will go same way towards correcting the franchise's, let's say, complicated history with female characters. Here, we seem to have a trio of strong female leads – de Armas, alonside Lashana Lynch and Lea Seydoux – who are much more than just pretty damsels to be rescued, bedded, then discarded. If that's the case, then No Time To Die will have been well worth the wait.
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