Rogue One is much better than the previous Star Wars installment, “The Force Awakens” by J.J. Abrams. The Rogue One script is first rate, telling how Princess Leia’s came to be in possession of the schematics for The Death Star, the information she embedded in R2D2, forty years ago..
In that movie, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker were untouched by thousands of rounds sent their way. We all saw the excessive shooting in The Matrix, and Rogue One brings it to where it should be. Hundreds of thousands of rounds whizz by, but in Rogue One our people are not mysteriously shielded from harm. It is much more realistic about the real toll, physical and spiritual, of war.
The image above shows the small band of renegades at the heart of the action and I was impressed by the performances. Diego Luna as Cassian was especially compelling. There is a line where Cassian talks, with great pain, about how each of the men regrets the betrayals and killings in the name of the rebellion, and yet they are unwilling to let go of the cause. In an argument with the heroine, Cassian shuts it down with a quiet, chilling warning on a par with the line from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, “We don’t need no stinking badges.” Bravo!
I have been a fan of Ben Mendelsohn since “Bloodline” where he plays a brilliant, self-destructive brother in a wealthy, irrational family. I thought he was miscast in this, and he had not mastered how to wear a cape with the panache and intimidation of Darth Vader. Ben’s voice lacks the gravitas to compete with the elocution of the Imperial brass. Too bad, I usually like his work.
I found the movie to be very satisfying. Recommended.