Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

While the film has great special effects, its strength is found flowing from the heart of a group of misfits who are willing to die young for a noble cause.

rogue-oneRogue One: A Star Wars Story is crushing the competition at the box office over this Christmas season for good reason. It tells a dark, brooding story about a group of unconnected people who are willing to risk their lives to destroy the Empire’s Death Star.

What is remarkable about the film’s success is that it has mostly unrecognizable actors filling the screen. The exception is Felicity Jones, who plays Jyn Erso, an ex-convict who has had to live through her parents’ horrible deaths in order to lead the rebel cause. For those of you saying “Felicity who”, remember that she received an Oscar nomination for her role as the wife of scientist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything (2014). On top of that, take the time to hunt down her magnificent role in Like Crazy (2011), not to mention her upcoming performance in the exciting A Monster Calls.

Ms. Jones is joined by a group of fellow rebels led by Diego Luna as Captain Cassian Andor. The two quietly develop a relationship that challenges both of them. Mads Mikkelsen gives a heartwarming performance as Jyn’s father, and it is worth remembering his performance as the villain Kaecilius in this year’s Doctor Strange. The two quietly develop a relationship that challenges both of them.

But there are other intriguing performances in this fine film, led by Alan Tudyk’s performance as the android K-2SO. He may be the more sarcastic, humorous android in the history of film, and he adds to the rich memory of R2D2 and C3PO. In addition, Ben Mendelsohn is always compelling when he plays a nasty character, and he succeeds here as Orson Krennic, the designer of the Empire’s Death Star. I must also note that the film is immensely helped by performances from Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang and Riz Ahmed, an eccentric trio who commit themselves to a mission with Jyn where success will likely result in death.

What makes this movie so compelling is what eventually happens to all of our heroes. While I’m not going to directly give it away, think of this year’s The Magnificent Seven, Saving Private Ryan (1998), The Dirty Dozen (1967) and The Great Escape (1963). Sometimes the definition of a true hero is a person who is willing to sacrifice his or her life so that friends and colleagues can live a better life.

The unfolding of this tragic drama is what you will see in Rogue One and it makes it a film to be remembered.