Edinburgh Cinema

Edinburgh’s cinemas have their own, different feel. When I visit them, I’ll be writing about both the film and the place, giving you the organic experience. Film critics on the big scale can’t really cater for this, so I hope my reviews bring something extra in this respect.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

the-last-jedi-theatrical-I

Star Wars: The Last Jedi 15.12.17

I would watch this film again. Not for the lightsaber fights, which were strangely banal, or for the romance that develops between Boyega's Finn and Tan's Rose, which glowed slightly at the end. In fact not for the many shoulder-shrug participants of this movie: Oscar Isaac's ace pilot Po and his one-dimensional charisma; Laura Derne's heroic but stiffly boring turn as a rebel leader. I could go on, but what's the point? I wish this film had scaled down on the casting and accommodating sub-plots. It already has three outstanding performers: Luke Skywalker (Hamill), Rei (Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Driver). I understand that every actor in Hollywood wants to be in Star Wars, but sometimes, less is more.

Speaking of which, Mark Hamill's hermit-like Luke is simply divine. He broods on his island as a failed teacher, dry humour mixing with anger and bitterness, but his uplifting humanity is never in question. His dialogue with Yoda I particularly loved; Yoda who for the first time since Empire Strikes Back, comes across as loveable and benign. Beyond the rugged islands, Luke convinces too in his agile fight against Driver's Ren, with shades of The Matrix, leaving Ren to look lumbering and awkward. Luke, in short, is kick-ass in this movie as warrior, teacher and sexagenarian whose regrets are not nearly as bad as he thinks. Hyperbole perhaps, but his is the most wonderful sixty-something character I've seen on screen, certainly in an action movie.

So what makes The Last Jedi work, its core, is the triangle of dark history between Skywalker, Rei and Kylo Ren. I wish this had been more fleshed out with more flashbacks and twists; the mystery that hangs over Luke's broken relationship with Ren, and Rei's unknown parentage, could have been even more intriguing. Still, Rei's descent into the island pit, to confront her own darkness and doubts, is a Star Wars moment to savour. Driver, meanwhile, confirms in this latest performance that his is the most complex and mesmeric villain in sci-fi or fantasy since Heath Ledger's Joker.

There are, in fact, moments of beauty scattered throughout in the photography: none more so than Luke at the end as he faces that sunset of his youth, but also the shattering of a Star Destroyer in silent slow-mo, leaving the audience to enter some kind of heavenly dreamscape.

What's left to say that won't kill the mystery? My favourite character has gone the way of Han Solo and won't be there for the final act. What remains is a large and seemingly ever-expanding cast of barely memorable characters, and two super stars at war. In the meantime, and for Hamill's performance in particular, I will watch this film again.
The Post
The Party
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Guest
Friday, 25 September 2020

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

July 01, 2020

Silenced by The Scotsman

​ On 11 June, The Scotsman published a deeply hostile article against transgender rights and activism in an opinion piece about the JK Rowling furore by its deputy political editor Gina Davidson. After much distress, I wrote a counter article which The Scotsman quietly ignored, after they had offered to pass it on to their Comment Editor. I experie...
May 11, 2020

The Book of Queer Prophets, curated by Ruth Hunt

in Books

  The Book of Queer Prophets: 24 Writers on Sexuality and Religion The historically fraught relationship between Abrahamic religions and LGBT+ identities provides the backdrop to The Book of Queer Prophets , a collection of twenty-four meditations by public figures who identify as both religious and LGBT+. The book's curator, the for...
May 09, 2020

Queer/Transgender short film: Mesmeralda

Joshua Matteo's short film, Mesmeralda , merging horror with esoterica, is now out on youtube . As with his previous work Metanoia , we see youthful trans actors racing through the empty streets of a moonlit New York, haunted by symbols and stalked by a masked figure of violent intentions. Mesmeralda , as described by Matteo, is the companion ...
March 08, 2020

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare Summer, 2016: Gina's Big Bang, as transitioning begins A bureaucratic question in a sun-lit room. My medical practitioner asks me if I intend to have children. The question lingers, but the self-loathing is instant. No, I won't be having children. The practitioner nods. She moves on to the n...
November 10, 2019

General Election

General Election 12 December 2019 I spent the last election in an office, alone but for the company of a colleague. We watched the BBC's coverage while I drank wine, downbeat and expecting austerity and the absence of hope to triumph. Then we saw the exit poll and hung around, disbelieving at the sight of the kindled embers and lukewarm glow of a f...
Joker
October 05, 2019

Joker

October 05, 2019

Joker

Joker The trailer did its work, flashing images of anomie and fury perfectly pitched for these unstable times of precarious working conditions, grievance and institutional indifference. For these same reasons, Joker , directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix as the protagonist, has attracted pre-release criticisms like few other recen...
September 29, 2019

Resisting Whiteness event 2019

Resisting Whiteness one-day event, Edinburgh Returning for the second consecutive year, Resisting Whiteness came yesterday to the Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh, providing an intense and inspiring series of panels, as well as a wonderful spoken word section, and a final segment based around the documentary short Invisible by internationally-acclaim...
August 21, 2019

Hearty by Emma Frankland

Hearty by Emma Frankland Raw and dripping with punk aesthetic, this one-woman-show's one-woman emerges in ripped tights and a T-shirt that paraphrases loudly the words of anti-trans theorist Germaine Greer: Lop Your Dick Off. My first impression of Emma Frankland is edgily uncertain and in awe, her Lady-Gaga-looks combined with Heath Ledger's mesme...
August 21, 2019

Pronoun, Pass, & Amnesty International

Transgender drama: Pronoun To be clear at the outset, this was the production of a youth theatre group, not a highly resourced team of experienced, professional career actors – although some of the performances left a powerful impression, and the show as a whole achieved some remarkable moments. Pronoun , written by Evan Placey, follows the transit...