27 Best Heist Movies of the 21st Century - VRGyani News and Media

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Sunday, September 26, 2021

27 Best Heist Movies of the 21st Century

Since the days of The Great Train Robbery (1903) heist movies have captivated audiences. They’ve dazzled ‘em with displays of desperate and cunning persons capable of feats law-abiding citizens fantasize about in jest. They outlived the fedoras and the cowboy hats of the ‘50s and ‘60s, and they thrived under the new school of actors mentored by legendary thespian Lee Strasberg in the ‘70s. Then, in the ‘90s, came an explosion of contemporary movies that still define the sub-genre today including Point Break, Reservoir Dogs, Heat, Mission Impossible, Jackie Brown, and Steven Soderbergh’s first foray into big-budget robbery-movies with Out of Sight. Tight scripts, stylish directors, and hot-to-trot casts brought the screenplays to life in an inimitable fashion present-day heist movies still struggle to overshadow.

Modern heist movies have done away with the cigar-chomping, Tommy gun-wielding greedy gangsters of old and replaced them with complex, calculated characters whose morality is more opaque than their motivations. Many of these movies operate as a metaphorical critique of the current state of the capitalist system cutting away at the American working-class. But it’s not all philosophy, a good heist film is tense, dramatic, unpredictable, and smart. A big shootout can be as effective as an unarmed robbery as long as the execution—by the artists, not the criminals—is comprised of those elements. The charm, comedy, and energy Soderbergh brought to the genre with his style and the ensemble cast of Oceans Eleven bowled over audiences across the world. In the more than 20 years since its release, it stands as a pop culture monument to cinema—and music, considering the inclusion of a reworked unreleased Elvis tune nearly thirty years after his death—but it’s not the only clever, tense, unpredictable heist film since the new millennium. Even its sequels are beautiful, funny, and smart. But Oceans Twelve and Oceans Thirteen notwithstanding, here are 27 heist movies worth watching.

RELATED: 50 Essential Action Movies Every Serious Film Fan Should See

Ant-Man

Director: Peyton Reed

Writers: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay

Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll, Michael Pena, T.I.

While Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man will stand as one of the best modern “what if” comic-book films, Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man stands as one of the most overlooked Marvel origin stories. It merges the comic book movie and heist movie sub-genres in an entertaining spectacle of special effects and superhero action. Paul Rudd proved his casting as Scott Lang, a thief with a heart who is tasked by Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) with breaking into Hank’s old company and stealing back his life’s work. A vengeful protege, a scorned daughter, and a shrinking suit are the unpredictable elements added to this concoction of action and jokes. With a script by Wright (Hot Fuzz), Joe Cornish (Attack the Block), and Adam McKay (The Big Short), it’s crawling with comedy, charm, energy, and wit. Even the supporting cast is killer, with a specific shoutout to Michael Pena’s (End of Watch) quick-talking, enthusiastic friend and thief. It’s a hilarious, warmhearted heist film and origin story.

Army of the Dead

Director: Zack Snyder

Writers: Zack Snyder, Shay Hatten, Joby Harold

Cast: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera, Omari Hardwick, Matthias Schweighofer

2021 was a great year for Zack Snyder. He got to see the distribution of his vision for Justice League four years after the theatrical release, and he got to see the distribution of his Netflix zombie heist film—dubbed a spiritual sequel to his directorial debut Dawn of the Dead—called Army of the Dead. Army of the Dead is a bloody, creative, action-packed zombie-heist hybrid. It’s ambitious in its reinvention of what a zombie is, as well as what a heist movie is. Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) assembles and leads his team of mercenaries and miscreants on a mission to crack and clean out a safe under the Las Vegas strip—a zone quarantined off from the rest of the U.S. because of its zombie infestation. Snyder served as the writer, producer, director, and director of photography, essentially bathing this film in his style and flair. The opening credit sequence alone is a masterful display of emotional manipulation by the director. Excellent song choice and a gradual tonal shift turn the opening from comedic to melancholy is the overture to the experience one can expect from Army of the Dead. Zack Snyder announced more to come from the world of his newest zombie film, with a prequel, an anime, and at least one sequel in the works.

Baby Driver

Director: Edgar Wright

Writer: Edgar Wright

Cast: Ansel Elgort, Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm, Lily James, Eiza Gonzalez, Jamie Fox

Baby Driver is a few lines of verbalized melody short of a musical. The action, blocking, cuts, and sound synchronized to the beat of each needle-drop through the nearly two-hour runtime of this epic montage of music and car chases creates one of the most unique and energetic action movies of all time. Edgar Wright’s newest film drops Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars) in the driver’s seat as Baby, a skilled driver who applies his talents as a getaway driver for a criminal enterprise run by Kevin Spacey. Like all of Wright’s films before it, it’s filled with energy. It only stops to breathe in the segments depicting Baby at home, taking care of Joseph (CJ Jones), his elderly deaf neighbor, and after he meets Deborah (Lilly James). The soundtrack is phenomenal, featuring music picked by Wright, and is meticulously integrated into nearly every frame of the film via simultaneous choreography, lyrical lines spoken verbatim, and lettering spelling out lyrics on cue. It’s bold, it’s fun, and it features several fantastic chase scenes cut and choreographed to a selection of sweet songs. The performances are hammy and dramatic, perfectly attuned to the idiosyncratic musical world depicted in Baby Driver.

Bandits

Director: Barry Levinson

Writer: Harley Peyton

Cast: Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thorton, Cate Blanchett, Troy Garity, Brian F. Byrne, Stacey Travis

Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thorton case banks as a clever and comedic duo in this early 2000s treasure. These aren’t the aforementioned desperate citizens forced into criminality by the system, these are two men bent on living a lifestyle unattainable to 99% of the world. They start by robbing banks unarmed and graduate to a modus operandi that earns them the moniker The Sleep-Over Bandits. They aren’t sadistic in their criminality, but they’re cold, calculated kidnappers and thieves. Their plans are infringed upon by an unbalanced Cate Blanchett who becomes an accessory to their crime spree. Her introduction, dancing and singing along to “I Need a Hero,” is only the beginning of the unpredictable comedic awesomeness of her presence. The dynamic between the charismatic Bruce Willis, neurotic Billy Bob Thorton, and crazy Cate Blanchett fuels the film once the crew is assembled. The three amigos predictably turn into a love triangle that takes the leap to explore what love and companionship can mean outside of heternormative standards.

Dragged Across Concrete

Director: S. Craig Zoller

Writer: S. Craig Zoller

Cast: Mel Gibson, Vince Vaughn, Troy Kittles, Michael Jai White, Thomas Kretschmann

When it comes to gritty, masculine movies, S. Craig Zoller is carrying the torch barred by his ‘80s and ‘90s forefathers. Dragged Across Concrete is the latest of the author-turned-filmmaker’s pictures evolving on the character building, cynicism, and American idealism of Brawl in Cellblock 99 and Bone Tomahawk before it. The story mostly follows two suspended cops—Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn—seeking to rob a criminal, who turns out to be a bank robber. It’s a nearly three-hour film drenched in dialogue and characterization with shocking and explosive violence. The bleak, sad world displayed bolsters one of the most unsettling and frightening bank robbery scenes in cinema perpetrated by truly intimidating and ingenious individuals. Strong performances of persons in dire scenarios ground the world and add weight to all the action and death. It’s a slow burn, but patient viewers are rewarded with a deep well of complex characters whose mortality feels fragile once the bullets start flying.

Drive

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

Writer: Hossein Amini

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Oscar Isaac, Ron Perlman

It’s hard to believe Drive is 10 years old. The neo-noir crime and heist film starring Ryan Gosling is still a masterwork of contemporary filmmaking bolstering a blistering soundtrack by Cliff Martinez and illustrious illumination by cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel (X-Men: Days of Future Past). Gosling’s quiet, motivated character, the driver, is a stuntman who moonlights as a wheelman for LA’s criminal underground. His backstory, his intentions, his dreams are all left to interpretation making his character as mysterious as he is efficient. What’s clear is his desire to keep his dual life separate. When his worlds collide, the silence and atmosphere of the first half of the film dissolve leaving behind a bloody, vengeful finale. The action is brutal, and the special effects are gross enough to grimace at. Director Nicolas Winding Refn’s first American-made film carried over his trademark style so flamboyantly displayed in Bronson and merged it with his trademark deliberate pacing to create an instant classic in Drive.

Fast Five

Director: Justin Lin

Writers: Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson

Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris

Fast Five is a freaking joy to watch. Despite its age, it remains a contemporary callback to 80s action epics fueled by adrenaline, machismo, and one-liners. It’s the first film to assemble the crew from across every installment of the franchise, and it’s the introduction of DwayneThe RockJohnson’s Special Agent Hobbs to the Fast and Furious saga. Director Justin Lin escapes the boundaries of his previous two entries in the franchise by embracing movie magic and ignoring the laws of physics. The movie opens directly where Fast and Furious (2009) left off, and a speeding bus full of convicts clips and flips over a stopped muscle car as a primer for the audience to ready themselves for the unpredictable, off the wall, and often comedic world of Fast Five. The Fast family, led by Dominic Torreto (Vin Diesel), plot a heist as revenge against a South American crime lord. Dom and Brian (Paul Walker) assemble a who's-who of drivers and badasses from the Fast franchise, including Tyrese and Ludacris from 2 Fast 2 Furious, Han (Sung Kang) from Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift—which oddly takes place towards the end of the Fast franchise chronology—and Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot from 2009’s Fast and Furious, on their mission to bring down their mark, Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida). The last half hour of the film is in contention for the best action-packed final act of any blockbuster franchise and features a smart, destructive, and overall ridiculous heist for the annals of film history.

Heist (2001)

Director: David Mamet

Writer: David Mamet

Cast: Gene Hackman, Rebecca Pidgeon, Danny Devito, Delroy Lindo, Sam Rockwell

Despite arriving the same year, Heist is everything Oceans Eleven isn’t. Its world is ugly, grey, and predatory. Gene Hackman fronts a ride-or-die crew of slick-talking crooks and con artists. Like a couple of movies on this list, the gang gets pulled into “one last job,” before everyone rides off into the proverbial sunset. Hackman’s crew act as a family, one that would make Dominic Toretto blush, in the acquisition and takedown of a shipment of gold. It’s a straight-played crime movie devoid of most humor despite comedic geniuses Gene Hackman (The Birdcage), Danny Devito (Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia), and Sam Rockwell (Seven Psychopaths) rubbing shoulders on screen. What it lacks in humor, it makes up for in deceit. The backstabbing and bodies begin to pile up towards the climax of the film as everyone battles to abscond with the gold they believe to be theirs. It’s messy, it’s fun, and it features one of the most ingenious heists despite an ordinary set-up.

Hell or High Water

Director: David Mackenzie

Writer: Taylor Sheridan

Cast: Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges, Gil Birmingham, Dale Dickey, William Sterchi

A tale of two Texas brothers stealing money after the death of their mother, Hell or High Water is as reflective as it is exciting. It’s one of the best movies of 2016, and it received four Oscar nominations including best original screenplay, best performance by an actor in a supporting role—Jeff Bridges—and best picture. Taylor Sheridan’s (Sicario) script is a fierce condemnation of the current state of the American capitalist system and how it fails the majority of the working class. It’s sharp and funny, and the cast of great character actors bring a warmth and life to the work that is something special to experience. Chris Pine (Star Trek) and Ben Foster (Galveston) are electric as the robbers on the run, relentlessly pursued by Jeff Bridges and his partner Gil Birmingham—two texas sheriffs whose bicker and banter puts the brothers to shame. Both fraternal relationships steal the show with a director and script that allows for their characterization and realization. It’s the most Texas film ever shot in New Mexico.

Inception

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writer: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Elliot Page, Ken Watanabe, Tom Hardy

While some thieves steal money, and others steal jewels or art, Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his associates steal secrets. They don’t break into banks or museums, but they break into the minds of specifically targeted individuals in possession of coveted knowledge. Inception is one of the most original and cerebral films of all time. Its popularity and acclaim earned it pop culture infamy to the point of imitation and parody. Christopher Nolan’s grandiose scale matches the film’s ambition in equal measure alongside heart-wrenching performances from DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises), Cillian Murphy (Peaky Blinders), and Ken Watanabe (Godzilla, 2014). It’s trippy and thrilling despite complicated concepts concerning dreams within dreams and how the flow of time distorts as one’s consciousness descends deeper into a target’s mind. The film won four out of the eight Academy Awards it was nominated for, including best cinematography, best sound editing, and mixing, and best achievement in visual effects. Eleven years later and it still stands out as a career highlight even among Christopher Nolan’s dynamite filmography.

Inside Man

Director: Spike Lee

Writer: Russell Gewirtz

Cast: Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer, Willem Dafoe

Despite being 15 years old, Inside Man is still a smart, flashy, and modern heist film. The masterful application of the script, nonlinear editing, and plethora of moviemaking tools at Spike Lee’s (Blackkklansman) disposal make Inside Man not just a highlight in Lee’s career, but in heist movie history. The introduction to Clive Owen’s arrogant and intelligent Dalton Russell, and its reprise, is stimulating, and watching Denzel Washington’s gamesman-like negotiator try and match wits with him is half the fun of the film. Lee’s trademark critical voice is calling out throughout the picture to highlight issues in law enforcement, and society et al, in regard to racial profiling, stereotyping, and outright racial prejudice and discrimination. The themes are baked into the layering of the film and consistently reinforced by the supporting cast—featuring Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Jodie Forster (Silence of the Lambs), Christopher Plummer (Knives Out), Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse), and many more. The jazz soundtrack played throughout makes the movie feel out of another era of detective dramas, and though the movie is often told from Denzel’s perspective, the film is far from copaganda.

Logan Lucky

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Jules Asner

Cast: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Farrah Mackenzie, Riley Keough

Fresh off the heels of two excellent seasons of The Knick, and a decade after finishing the Ocean’s trilogy, Steven Soderberg returned to the heist film subgenre with the hillbilly heist movie, Logan Lucky. The Logan brothers, played by Channing Tatum and Adam Driver, devise a plan to rob a NASCAR event with the help of a rogue chemist (Daniel Craig). The casting couldn’t have been better between the leading men. Tatum and Driver as the good ol’ boys with bad streaks banter like siblings as they attempt to bring the plan together. Daniel Craig regurgitates lines in a high-pitched Southern accent a hair shy of the hammy Benoit LeBlanc from Knives Out. His role as the no-nonsense, hard-edged, and currently incarcerated career criminal of the group enriches both the on-screen dynamic and the plot. It’s every bit as charming, comedic, and intelligent as the Ocean’s films without the tailored suits and city lights. This lighthearted heist film only suffers from a lack of tension in the same vein as the Ocean’s franchise—the masterminds feel a step ahead the entire time. It’s no less fun to watch the Logan brother’s plan in action as they encounter the unexpected along the way.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Director: Brad Bird

Writers: Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec

Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Michael Nyqvist

The Mission Impossible movies have evolved through the years along with action cinema’s standards. What Brian De Palma started—a heist movie concerning a floppy disk—passed through the hands of film legends John Woo and J.J. Abrams before Pixar’s Brad Bird (The Incredibles), with respect to Abrams’ Mission Impossible 3, started the story arc still driving the franchise narrative into Mission Impossible 7. It was released a year before Jack Reacher, Tom Cruise’s Tom Clancy action series, and it implements all of the tricks Mission Impossible is beloved for—disguises, gadgets, stunts, and stealing. Between the action and comedy, the movie has as kinetic a pace as any action-heist film on this list. It moves from large set-piece scene to large set-piece whimsically, breaking up the tension of undercover break-ins with Simon Pegg’s (Shaun of the Dead) comedic timing. It’s a complete film with a terrific cast that fans of heist movies, action films, spy movies, and more can appreciate.

National Treasure

Director: Joe Turtletaub

Writers: Jim Couf, Cormac Wibberley, Marriane Wibberley, Oren Aviv, Charles Segars

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Sean Bean, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel

“I’m going to steal the Declaration of Independence,” is one of the most iconic lines of the 21st century. Nicolas Cage’s almost clenched teeth articulation is instantly recognizable, and the line itself summons the immense sense of wonder and discovery that National Treasure acutely captured. The audience follows Cage as Benjamin Franklin Gates, an explorer and historian whose family is tasked with protecting an ancient treasure. Like a good Dan Brown novel, sans the darkness, National Treasure introduced audiences to a world hidden around them-—a world of secret societies, hidden messages, and lost relics. It’s thrilling to join the cast on their quest as they solve riddles and puzzles diligently tied to factual historic events and people. The heist of the declaration of independence to validate clues hidden within it isn’t the climax of the film, so first-time watchers should prepare for even more mystery and fun following the break-in at the National Archives in DC.

No Sudden Move

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Ed Solomon

Cast: Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, David Harbour, Jon Hamm, Craig Mums Grant

No Sudden Move has all the trappings of a heist film one would expect from Steven Soderbergh, and yet it exists as the antithesis to the Ocean’s franchise and legacy. The ensemble cast, including a couple of Ocean’s finest, scramble to control the events and outcome of a patent robbery in the 1950s. Characters stretch and squeeze their way across the screen as they’re warped by the peculiar lens most of the film is shot through. The backgrounds bend and roll out of frame, making them seem like painted backdrops on a continuous loop in an old-timey animation. The look, the score, and the non-stop chain of backstabbing actively separate this movie from Soderbergh's other heist efforts. This isn’t a crew of professionals and experts working together to split a large take, nor is it an opportunistic smash and grab by principled-but-bewildered country boys. It’s a harsh tale of all the struggle and strife people on the bottom have to go through to get one step ahead, while the people on top continue to reap the benefits of the goodwill and fortune snowballing their way.

Now You See Me

Director: Louis Leterrier

Writers: Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin, Edward Ricourt

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Common, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco

The amalgamation of talent behind Now You See Me is as strong as any movie on this list. Directed by Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk), and written by Ed Solomon (No Sudden Move), Boaz Yakin (Remember the Titans, director), and Edward Ricourt (Jessica Jones), Now You See Me actually works. It’s a fun, effects-driven heist movie that reunites Zombieland duo Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson as two of the Four Horsemen, the group of magicians robbing banks as a theatrical act. The Four Horsemen are rounded out by Dave Franco (The Disaster Artist) and Isla Fisher (Hot Rod). The Horsemen are hounded by law enforcement as they repeatedly take and donate money from banks across the globe. The supporting cast of law enforcement agents, insurance representatives, and interested parties is made up of several Academy award nominees including Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Cain. It’s smart and visually enticing, and the unpredictable elements are enhanced by the unknown potential of magic.

Ocean’s 8

Director: Gary Ross

Writers: Gary Ross, Olivia Mitchell

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Rianna, Awkwafina

Oceans 8 is a true successor to the Ocean’s legacy in its application of wit, comedy, and charm, as well as its intelligence and sophistication. Debbie Ocean’s (Sandra Bullock) plan to nick a six-pound diamond necklace off the neck of movie star Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) at the Met Gala is daring and exciting, especially as they’re under surveillance—ala Oceans 12—the entire time. Daniel Pemberton’s score plays homage to David Holme’s awesome big band orchestration implemented throughout his Ocean’s tenure while injecting new elements and energy into the picture. The movie is funny, like laugh out loud funny, and Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett elevate every scene they’re in. Blanchett’s cool, swaggering Lou brings loads of attitude and flavor to the screen in each scene-stealing second. The movie features cameos and callbacks to earlier iterations in the franchise, but it stands apart on its own strengths including the verve, tone, and gorgeous array of colors throughout the film.

Ocean’s 11

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writers: Ted Griffin

Cast: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac

20 plus years later and Oceans 11 still stands as one of the best remakes, ensemble casts, and heist movies of all time. The all-star cast of charming thieves, their daring break-in of the Bellagio vault, and the nonlinear storytelling employed create one of the most stylish and exciting movies of the new millennium. Soderbergh’s cinematography and David Holme’s score breathe energy into the film all the way through the b-roll. It’s funny without being hokey, slick without being pretentious, and thrilling with a capital-T. Every A-list actor has their part to play in the ploy to case more than $120 million from a casino owner without leaving a casualty behind. Like Logan Lucky, or any modern superhero flick, the film’s only downside is how damn smart its protagonists are—they never feel like they’re in danger of failing. Of course, this is foiled in Ocean’s 12—which rules, actually.

The Place Beyond the Pines

Director: Derek Cianfrance

Writers: Darius Marder, Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ben Mendelsohn, Dane Dehaan

While The Place Beyond the Pines boasts a couple of the most adrenaline-pumping heists found on film, it’s a much larger story thematically exploring generational pain. The plot flows like a TV series, starting following a set of characters before their children inherit the focus of the story. Ryan Gosling reunited with his Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance as a stuntman and bank robber on a collision course with a hotshot young cop, played by Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born). Romances and corrupt cop side plots help bind these father/son tales tightly as they examine the nature of personal responsibility, betrayal, and loyalty. There’s a time jump that sees Dane Dehan (The Cure for Wellness) and Emory Coen (Lords of Chaos) step into the spotlight as they take over the narrative. The final act of the film, after it has abandoned the heist movie formula, is where the thematics sync to form one of the most complete and explorative movies on this list.

Public Enemies

Director: Michael Mann

Writers: Michael Mann, Ronan Bennett, Ann Biderman

Cast: Christian Bale, Johnny Depp, Christian Stole, Jason Clark, Stephen Graham

Michael Man’s Heat is one of the most inspirational movies of the last fifty years. The action, character building, visual aesthetic, and performances have been an inspiration to and ripped off by visual media productions ever since. So, obviously, when he announced a return to the heist movie subgenre with a period piece set during the height of John Dillenger’s (Johnny Depp) outlaw super-stardom, cinephiles were at the edge of their seat. This film is a return to the fedora-wearing, cigar-chomping gangsters of the ‘30s and ‘40s. The silent intensity of the professional criminals in Heat is tossed out in favor of charismatic depictions of notorious outlaws on the run from a federal task force run by special agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale). Michael Man’s early experimentation with digital cameras on Collateral and Miami Vice paid dividends when attempting to capture a hyper-realistic look at the old-timey crime era. Cinematographer Dante Spinotti, who worked with Mann on several films including Heat, delivers one of the most dynamically lit and textured yet polished digitally recorded films before digital cameras became the industry standard due to their efficiency and affordability.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Director: Gareth Edwards

Writers: Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy, John Knoll, Gary Whitta

Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Ben Mendelsohn

Ask any Star Wars fan and they’ll tell you Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is one of the best Star Wars movies yet. It recreates the visual aesthetic of the original trilogy with modern special effects and a heist tale alluded to in Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope. It’s a strong stand-alone film, and a solid entry point into the canon for uninitiated viewers. It’s touching and polished while being absolutely packed with fan service for long-time fanatics. Everyone in the group of misfit thieves is interesting, but a couple stand out among the soldiers and assassins. K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) in particular shines as an expressive and sassy empirical droid reprogrammed to fight its creators. Donnie Yen’s (Ip Man) Chirrut Imwe brings the mystical side back to Star Wars with his blind force-sensitive spiritualist. Director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, 2014) found a way to create tension in a story whose ending was spoiled 40 years before the movie was made. He did this, with the help of the writers and actors, by creating endearing characters whom the audience desperately root for despite knowledge of their circumstances.



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