Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Director: Gareth Edwards
Talent: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn
Released: 15th December
As the first of several planned standalone films set in the Star Wars universe, Rogue One has the difficult task of being its own beast in tone and content while remaining very much a part of the larger series: in this, at least, it is an unqualified success. The story begins with the Rebel Alliance recruiting a young woman named Jyn Erso (Jones) to steal the plans of the newly-constructed Death Star (thus leading into the events of A New Hope) and it quickly becomes apparent that director Gareth Edwards, contrary to reports, has a firm grip on proceedings.
The oppressive atmosphere is entirely appropriate, as is the relative lack of humour, and while with the exception of our protagonist none of the characters are sketched in anything other than broad strokes, every part has been cast for maximum effect, with Mads Mikkelsen and the great Ben Mendelsohn in particular fine form. After a somewhat sluggish first act, the film steadily builds up steam and finally culminates in one of the best set-pieces of the saga, intense, violent and moving, leaving you a little wrung-out but thoroughly satisfied. Roll on the next one.
Words – Felipe Deakin