Blade Runner 2049
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Talent: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford
Blade Runner 2049 is a sci-fi saga on a different scale to that even attempted by most. As sequels go, it is only really similar to the original in subject and name. The feel of this film is very different, as is what it is trying to do. The central mystery of the original film is overcome within the first few scenes by confirming that our chief protagonist, Ryan Gosling, is a ‘replicant’ (human-like robot). His task is the same as his predecessor’s – to kill other replicants from the outer worlds – until events cause him to look deeper into the social order of the world around him.
The result is a 163min epic on the nature of existence and what it means to be human. Director Denis Villeneuve uses the relationship between replicants and humans to pose greater moral questions about our own society. There are references to religion, existentialism, Shakespeare, the role of class in society and even ‘a wall’. Amongst this, there is also so much space. The soundtrack created by Hanz Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch is sparse and underplayed; the cinematography is thoughtful and slow. This space extends to the performances too. Gosling’s characteristic understated acting proves the perfect fit for ‘K’, and Harrison Ford’s ageing Rick Deckard broods in typical gruff fashion.
The beauty of Blade Runner 2049 is of a different sort to the original. If Ridley Scott’s film felt incredible; this one looks incredible. The sequencing of camera work towards the end is almost overwhelming and makes the sometimes hefty prologue pay off. Denis Villeneuve’s film is not just a rehash of the original movie, and nor is it just another big budget sci-fi released to cash in on franchise success. It’s a proper film in it’s own right, crafted with care and laced with ambition. And that’s pretty good as sequels go.