Monday, December 19, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

People like to make a lot of noise about the Star Wars Universe's roots in myth, legend and pulp fiction, but there's a flip side to that coin that is often forgotten - revolution. Like the rest of his draft minded generation, George Lucas was steeped in the politics of Vietnam and his student films Freiheit and Electronic Labyrinth THX1138 4EB vividly reflect this in both style and substance. Yet by the time he got around to crafting his little Space Opera, all of the messy politics of a rebellion were pushed to the background so that a story of family and succession could take the fore. Even the aesthetics were sanitized to purely functional storytelling. Rogue One goes a long way to restoring balance to The Force. Here we get a rebellion that is split into factions and far from a united front. Here we get protagonists who have no qualms about killing someone who might draw unwanted attention. Here we get a film that owes a visual debt to The Battle of Algiers and the cinema of Costa-Gavras. It's far from perfect, but in a universe so preoccupied with cycles and repetition, it is a welcome breath of messy air.

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