Everyone’s miserable, but in it together

The characters are forced to “embrace the suck” for most of the film, which is set shortly before the Rebels’ attack on Scarif. The tone of the movie is perhaps the bleakest since The Empire Strikes Back and Revenge of the Sith. For nearly the entire film, evil doers have been winning. It isn’t until approximately 80 seconds remaining in the movie that there is a “victory,” and it isn’t much of one. It costs so much that, to those involved, it isn’t clear if it was worth it.

Our heroes spend the most of their time wet, uncomfortable, afraid, and arguing. This is no laughing crew of scoundrels. When mission personnel return to the forward operating base filthy, weary, and irate at other unit members loafing around, they find other staff members playing games. Friendly fire is a genuine risk. Higher headquarters sends confusing and unhelpful orders that provide no indication as to what is going on in the field. Soldiers in the field are certain that their directives are a bad idea, but they nevertheless try to obey them.