Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Laura Dern, Kelly Marie Tran
There is so much so savour in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. This isn’t a one-note film. Instead as Veeru so memorably said in Sholay – iss story mein action hai, emotion hai, tragedy hai.
To start with, you have Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, a memorable villain because he isn’t pitch black. There is a spark of humanity within him that he grapples with. Kylo is scarred – literally and metaphorically – and he’s sexy. He has a series of long-distance, dream-like conversations with Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, that are at once, heavy with emotion but also almost sensual. Rey herself is magnetic and powerful as a warrior desperate for a teacher. The teacher of course is the iconic Luke Skywalker, who now lives like a hermit on a remote island. There’s also the late Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, still a beacon of hope for the resistance; Oscar Isaac as Poe, the hot-headed pilot and John Boyega as Finn. And two new entrants – the wonderful Laura Dern as a vice-admiral and Kelly Marie Tran as Rose, a Resistance solider.
These rich characters inhabit a vast narrative that has sweep and a grand design. Director Rian Johnson, who also wrote the story, is very aware that he is creating a modern myth here. So there are multiple story strands, explosive action sequences and always, the assurance that nothing less than the universe is at stake. So every action has weight and consequences. There is also an over-arching sense of courage and nobility as character after character rises to the occasion and meets his or her destiny.
Have I made it sound boring? Believe me it’s not. There is a middle portion that involves a code-breaker, which seemed muddled and long-drawn but mostly the story is crackling. Emotion and action is woven together deftly and Johnson springs a few delicious narrative twists. By the end of it, I felt like a kid, excited and giddy with the high of good storytelling.
The original Star Wars was a part of my childhood. So there is an instant love and nostalgia that this franchise induces in me. That opening scrawl gets me each time – my eyes moisten and my hair stands on end. But even if these movies don’t resonate with you in the same way, I recommend that you see The Last Jedi.
There is a real power and glory here.