Blade Runner 2049 is the long awaited, and largely unexpected, sequel to the cult sci-fi classic released in 1982.
Surrounded by mystery, intrigue (and often concern), this film has surpassed all expectations, and has been branded a masterpiece in its own right.
Denis Villeneuve is the director behind the film, and has proved his worth in his previous work (Sicario, Arrival) – but has now placed himself up there with the greats with his visionary take on the Blade Runner world.
This instalment stars Ryan Gosling as K, a Blade Runner and new model of Replicant which are programmed to obey all commands given to them. He is tasked in finding the previously banned and aging models of Replicants, and “retiring” (aka. exterminating) them. Upon discovering that there exists the offspring of two Replicants, he embarks on a journey to locate the child and identify the parents.
It is a slow paced story, granted, however this works in the film’s favour in creating this now dystopian world the planet has become since Deckard (Harrison Ford) was a Blade Runner. So much of the beauty of this film emanates from the combination of sound and cinematography.
We see vast landscapes and depleted cities, blurred with dust and fog, all enhanced by the deep drones of the score which are screamingly intense and unsettling. The soundtrack replicates the crescendo of the storyline itself, getting louder and louder along with the build up to the finale, and it’s these details that really elevate the film into something special.
The cast are really on form here. Gosling brings the hard-boiled façade seen in Only God Forgives, excellently playing the emotionless and straight-faced Blade Runner. As things begin to unfold, the cracks in his programming begin to show and he does so well in only giving a little at a time in order to maintain a realistic portrayal of a non-human character.
Last but not least, Harrison Ford delivers a brilliant performance in making his return as the original Blade Runner, Rick Deckard – but we’ll let you see the circumstances of his return for yourselves.
So much of the original film is kept to ensure the sanctity of the Blade Runner world, including the chiaroscuro lighting with neon juxtaposition, a technique now used in many Anime comics and movies such as Ghost in the Shell. But most impressive of all is the call back to the themes of humanity and morality. Blade Runner was such a well-loved film due to its complex take on what it means to be human in a world mostly made of machines – and Blade Runner 2049 feels like it has all the more impact as we seemingly move closer to that world.
Tie all of the above in with some fantastic scenery, colour co-ordinated set pieces, mind-blowing special effects and ever-anticipated pop culture references, and we have ourselves a modern masterpiece – something completely unexpected in the increasing market of remakes, reboots and sequels. New audiences might feel surprised or missold at the slow pace of the story though, if they were expecting an rollercoaster ride of action.
But don’t doubt it – this is by far the best film of the year, and deserves to be seen by all fans of cinema, sci-fi and the original movie. It is inherently beautiful and touching.
We give Blade Runner 2049 the full 5 stars for a completely awe-inspiring sequel, something which we have not seen in a long, long time.
Blade Runner 2049 is currently in cinemas. Here’s the trailer: