(This post was written long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, probably in 2016 but not published until 2018)
Aside from the title, which was way more auspicious than the film delivered, I was sad for Oscar Isaac, an actor that I like, that he was cast in such a one-dimensional role. He has great talent as an actor, and none of it showed in this film. But Star Wars films have never been known as breeding grounds for future Marlon Brandos.
I have seen Oscar Isaac in at least three other movies:
- Inside Llewyn Davis
- A Most Violent Year
- Ex Machina [2018 edit: His subsequent role as Apocalypse in the Avengers series maybe wasn’t a dramatic role, but he was still great, even though I’m lukewarm toward Avenger’s movies. And…well, if you’re an actor, you want to work, so you take the roles you can get.]
and I think I can say that, as an actor, he HAD to leap at the chance to be in at least one Star Wars episode. I mean, he is young enough that he grew up with Star Wars lore as part of his youth.
But I think he was conflicted. After working with the Coen Brothers (!) on Inside Lewyn Davis, and staring in the very innovative Ex Machina, he has to be thinking, as he walked on to the Disney set, “am I sure this is going to further my establishment as an actor?”
Was it a step up, or a step down for him? This has to tell you something about the film. It’s STAR WARS. And Oscar Isaac is questioning whether it will help his career.
Because if you saw his part, you noticed that he played a one-dimensional, totally transparent, flim-flam, comic book, did-this-in eighth-grade-drama-class, character.
“Yes. I played in the highest grossing film in the history of all film worldwide. No, it did not advance my acting career.”
Because whoever wrote the script was laboring under the heavy iron grasp of Disney film, the nail-toothed, black-souled, iron-hearted, family-friendly, positive-messaged, giggly, feel-good-of-the-century, because-it-draws-the-masses-with-the-allure-of-traditional-values paradigm.
But I’m biased.