Image via Slashfilm
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have seen the adverts for Bladerunner 2049 everywhere. As the sequel to the cult classic, Bladerunner; this was a film that people had high expectations for. But does it deliver? Absolutely.
The film was directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green. It is set approximately 30 years after the original, with the young replicant blade runner K, played by Ryan Gosling, discovering a secret hidden for thirty years. The secret could have potentially catastrophic consequences for humanity, so K tracks down the missing Rick Deckard, the blade runner in the original film, seeking his help.
Without slipping in any spoilers, I can assure you that the plot is interesting and twists in on itself several times. Just as you think you’ve sussed out the ending, something happens that throws it back in your face. The film focuses heavily on the issue of replicants and humans, and what it means to be “real”, or for a memory to be “real”. With clear parallels to oppressed people throughout history, the replicants long to be respected and valued in the same way as humans.
Jared Leto plays Wallace, the head of the huge corporation that manufactures millions of replicants, for humans to use as they please. Wallace wants to enable his replicants to reproduce, the ultimate breakthrough in the technology. Personally, I feel that Jared Leto tends to overact in his roles. His portrayal of Wallace feels weak to me, a 2D caricature of the crazed evil technological genius, with no real personal motivations. And, for me the biggest flaw of his character: there’s no redeeming feature; so we just can’t root for him at all.
I have loved Ryan Gosling since his phenomenal performances in Drive and the Place Beyond the Pines. His ability to convey a spectrum of emotions using only his eyes is remarkable. His portrayal of K is as a complex and raw character, and I was invested in him much more than any other character. Harrison Ford played Deckard well, but I feel Gosling’s performance is undeniably stronger. Ana de Armas plays the beautiful hologram Joi (K’s love interest), and it is also a spectacular performance. There is a romantic scene that was a triumph both cinematically in how on earth they shot it (you’ll understand when you’ve seen the film) and emotionally.
This film is a visual masterpiece. Roger Deakins was the director of cinematography for the film, and his should be incredibly proud of what he and his team have achieved. The grimy, dusty neo-noir vibe of the film is broken up by hyper-colour holograms of naked women in the city, all adding to the sense of a corrupt and filthy town. There are some truly lovely shots using light and distortion, all reminding us that we cannot ever be sure that what we are seeing is real. I loved the film and will probably be going back to the cinema to see it again very soon. It’s a long film, but for all of the above reasons I think it deserves its run-time. The film review from Movie Babble summed the film up excellently: “Blade Runner 2049 is the definition of a film. This is NOT a movie, but rather a piece of art that you need to dissect.” (available at https://moviebabblereviews.com/2017/10/06/film-review-blade-runner-2049-2017/)