DIRECTOR: Denis Villeneuve
I have to say when I first heard that a sequel was on the way for Ridley Scott’s neo noir Blade Runner, I felt slightly anxious thinking will Hollywood destroy a classic with an empty sequel? To answer that question, director Denis Villeneuve and his producers used the $150 million dollar budget for Blade Runner 2049 to full effect. Good scifi has become scarce in the cinema these days and what is presented is either reused, stolen or flat. This French Canadian director knew the genre having previously worked on “Arrival” and understands character and drama with films like “Prisoners” and “Sicario”.
Here in Blade Runner 2049 there is still a need to retire replicants- the artificial humans used for labour. LAPD Blade Runner Officer K (Gosling) playing detective follows clues that lead him to Deckard (Ford). The film makes good use of story and avoids routine police procedure gimmicks but builds on clue hunting, mysteries unsolved and questions needing answers. As the investigation unfolds we meet Wallace (Leto) who is the new Tyrell figurehead creating the replicants for industrial gain.
There are moments when K comes home to his apartment and it’s these scenes where the heart of the film lies. He has a holographic projection named Joi ( de Armas) she knows him because she is designed for that purpose, to function for him. When he seems flat, her holographic clothing will change to suit his needs. She knows he’s special.
2049’s predecessor tackled the theme of life, and thirty years later this film asks philosophical questions about memory and how we are defined by it.
The original was layered in cinematic darkness yet here Villeneuve’s camera shows large landscapes and wideshots of barns, trees and orphanages. The film is beautiful and visually stunning to watch. The film was largely shot in Hungary and a lot of effort went into set design to keep up with the dystopian feel of this future. Colours are used well in the film such as greys with order, light colours with hostility. It creates a tense mood and spectacle we want to continue journeying along with.
Any science fiction film loves explaining itself and connect the dots to viewers who don’t like puzzles. The film at times spoils itself into exposition when its unrequired however that is a minor fault. Some may find 164 minutes too long but its worth a look.
Gosling has proven himself as an actor in this film and he’ll be remembered for the vulnerability he allows us to see. When Ford and Gosling share scenes together, we’re still drawn to K’s character thanks to Gosling’s strong performance.
This film is one to be seen in the cinema and not downloaded or streamed. Immerse yourself in Blade Runner 2049 and continue to be amazed.
Ryan Gosling as K
Harrison Ford as Deckard
Jared Leto as Wallace
Ana de Armas as Joi
Robin Wright as Lieutenant Joshi