Still following it: I get what this series is trying to do, I see the efforts, just too bad it’s soooooooooo slow with no emotion (and a bit of a very lackluster casting, especially Diego Luna, totally uninteresting). I thought it was going full “Bourne” but it’s now closer to “Michael Clayton”… which is kinda off topic. It seems the series will only be 24 episodes spanned over 2 seasons: they better hurry to start telling a story (and not just close ups of sad people’s faces), there isn’t much time left already.
We are watching two different shows it seems. 🤔
Not really: I just don’t find anything great about it, while you seem to enjoy a lot public servants reading files and people hiking in the highlands.
That’s Gilroy’s go-to magic trick though, isn’t it? Externally, it’s “public servants reading files” - perhaps a dry, soulless environment or a bleak state of affairs - but philosophically, it’s about everything. It has hope, it has meaning. It’s emotional in its repression thereof. It’s in a way, very Star Wars.
You brought up Michael Clayton. Big law firm representing a corrupt company is “boring” on paper, but it’s entirely compelling in practice. Sharp dialogue and excellent performances carry us through scenes of tense bargaining and self reflection; very writerly, very classy. Conversations become the action setpieces, where real violence is rare and morally disappointing. But the important bit is that Michael isn’t just contending with UNorth as a corporate villain, the movie is really a struggle for his soul. The plot elements may be sociopolitical, but philosophically it’s universal and human. It’s about redemption, about conscience. Tension releases when the right thing is done. The Bourne movies as well. Political thriller, but about love, identity (obviously), purpose.
The through-line of Andor is multi-dimensional in the same ways.
Dedra and Syril represent the banality of evil. Overachievers at their jobs; they’re not trying to oppress the galaxy - they just want that promotion, or even to do the Right Thing when a corrupt system won’t. Syril’s pitiable life informs his feelings of powerlessness. Dedra’s aspirations are seemingly blocked by unfair prejudices. They’re looking for meaning and purpose in their lives, and it’s damn near innocuous - but it affects so many under the boot of the institutions they work for. Syril exacerbates already strained community-cop relations on Ferrix by over-exercising power he’s always lacked [that cops maybe shouldn’t have]. Dedra is pushing the Empire to go even further than that in the name of her career.
It takes the mythological pop culture villain of the Empire and adds shades of capitalism and everyday bureaucracy. Underdogs as inherently sympathetic, placed in a familiar [almost American/British-coded] systems… but now, closely related to and prototypical of the Space Nazis we knew. That allegory is cutting and radical criticism of our Establishment in many ways. It’s Andor’s appeal as socio-politically conscious, but it interplays with the universal themes of disenfranchisement and life-meaning for many of the characters caught in its web.
Cassian needs meaning, but doesn’t know what he believes ideologically - he just knows what he’s against. Many of the Aldhani crew come with their own baggage but offer him a more articulate manifesto and direction for his pent-up anger. The narrative is so wholly about revolution, but more importantly all the different fires that spark individually from circumstance. Rebellion as instinctual and universal. Syril and Dedra are rebels too, in their own way.
“I’ve been saying all along we need a stronger hand with these affiliated planets. There’s fomenting out there, sir. Pockets of fomenting. Corporate Tactical Forces are the Empire’s first line of defense, and the best way to keep the blade sharp is to use it.” - Linus Mosk
“It’s so confusing, isn’t it? So much going wrong, so much to say, and all of it happening so quickly. The pace of oppression outstrips our ability to understand it. And that is the real trick of the Imperial thought machine. It’s easier to hide behind 40 atrocities than a single incident. But they have a fight on their hands, don’t they? Our elemental rights are such a simple thing to hold, they will have to shake the galaxy awfully hard to loosen our grip.” -Karis Nemik
The dialogue is consistently this crackling and philosophically concise. It’s not boring - it’s just as theatrical as a good SW film, perhaps in a different flavor. It’s not dry or mundane - this isn’t “realism”, it’s still dramatic. But instead of pulp and flamboyance, there’s wit and precision. Swordplay-like exchanges between detailed characters. To pare it down to its external setting and action feels obtuse. What they’re saying - how - matters more than the superficial.
What makes it Star Wars is that this has always been there. Revolution and rebellion, the search for meaning, family, oppression and the lure of power. These are elements of Star Wars interpreted thoughtfully and expanded upon thoroughly. Always under the surface of the genre-pastiche, but shaded in its ethos nonetheless. At the forefront in Andor.
What does it mean to rebel against an Establishment? How does that Establishment keep its power? From Lucas saying the rebels were Viet Cong to “Nute Gunray” being a Newt Gingrich/Ronald Reagan mash-up, Andor is taking Star Wars’ politics seriously for once. And it’s filling out its world with real and complex emotions, not just the broad big ones. Maybe it’s 40 min too long for you, but the material when you can engage with all of it has conviction.
“Nothing” happens, but I’d argue everything does. This has more weight than fantasy adventures about things that aren’t real.