Whenever we watch a film, there’s usually a standout moment that everyone remembers. Whether it is a quote or a memorable scene, these moments undoubtedly become iconic moments in cultural history. So I thought I would share some of my favourite film moments and why they are so special in my opinion. To start with, I am going to take a very recent but nonetheless important example that is emblematic of what makes a moment in a film so strikingly impactful. Rogue One A Star Wars Story not only contains my favourite scene in a Star Wars film to date, but one of my favourites of all time.
HEAVY SPOILERS AHEAD FOR ROGUE ONE A STAR WARS STORY
The scene that I will be discussing is the film’s penultimate one. After a stunning battle on Scarif that is certainly one of the greats of the Star Wars saga, the Death Star plans have been transmitted to a Rebel flagship. The bravery and sacrifice of our protagonists and their entire crew is fresh in our minds, providing for a surprisingly emotional and tragic tone to the film’s entirety. Now that the Rebels have the plans, we can assume that the film will end, leading seamlessly into Episode IV A New Hope. However, to my joy the film doesn’t stop there. Yes, it’s the Darth Vader corridor scene.
What I loved most about this scene is its shocking nature. Like many, I felt that the film would have ended seconds before, yet we receive a mind-blowing minute highlighting the brutality of arguably the greatest villain in cinematic history. If you really think about Darth Vader’s presence in the saga, he is physically imposing for sure, and the iconic voice of James Earl Jones layers his menacing personality. But Vader in his suit (not counting Anakin Skywalker who wasn’t in the suit) has only ever killed one person on screen with a lightsaber before. And that was Obi-Wan in the original film, who in a way let himself be killed by Vader to become one with the force to spiritually guide Luke.
Here on the other hand, the juxtaposition couldn’t be more obvious. Vader is enraged, desperate and furious at the concept of losing the Death Star plans. He has no remorse or sense of mercy. No matter who is standing in his ay, he will destroy them by any means necessary. His portrayal in this scene is somewhat horrifying, illuminating an eerie dark hallway with his glowing red lightsaber. Moreover, when the lightsaber ignited, I thought the camera would cut away and not show us the action. But to my delight, Vader begins walking towards the Rebels.
The fear and sense of hopelessness in the face of the Rebels who are inches away from achieving their mission demonstrates the terrifying nature of Vader. Finally we understand why he is to be truly feared among the galaxy. Furthermore, I was in fact a little disappointed with the Vader scene earlier in the film, where Orson Krennic visits Vader on Mustafar. Whilst it was incredible to hear Vader speak again, the dialogue itself wasn’t that enduring or engaging, and Vader’s pun “be careful not to choke on your aspirations” as he is chocking Krennic really didn’t work for me.
In the corridor scene however, Vader has no dialogue. Yet his actions speak louder than any words. I love the fact that the way in which the Rebels are slaughtered as well, especially the one who is sliced in half whilst attached to the ceiling after Vader’s use of the force. The epicness of the music combined with the frantic action of the scene creates a haunting yet joyful moment. Never before have I been so happy to see the villain succeeding against the heroes. Yet after all that, there is still a sense of hope that flows throughout, as the Rebels make one last stand and succeed by escaping with the plans by the skin of their teeth.
Despite the fact that some may feel this scene to be out of place, especially following the incredibly mellow nature of watching each one of our heroes being killed off, the Vader scene still maintains the film’s main theme of hope, whilst also bringing us a glimpse of what Vader can do in combat.
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