Blade Runner 2049 is a dazzling and thought provoking journey into a truly unique future world, while also a perfect continuation to the original Blade Runner story.
Blade Runner 2049 is a great example of a film that transports you to another world and makes sure you’re fully immersed; in this sense it’s truly cinematic. As far as comparing it to a standard blockbuster, elements are all present and correct, but presented with precision and care. We still have punch ups and car chases when we need them, but without getting too pretentious the film is crafted by a filmmaker with a clear passion for the material, and a instinctive feeling for what the story requires.
The narrative takes its time to explore its characters and plot, resulting in a seemingly unwieldy run-time of 2hrs 45mins. However if you find yourself pulled into Denis Villeneuve’s vision then the time will glide by. The plot itself isn’t needlessly convoluted, we spend much time on a replicant from the LAPD’s mission to track something down. To say anything more would be to delve into spoiler territory, but what starts as a simple journey soon develops into something a little more interesting and complex. If you find the resulting twists and turns predictable you have a sharper mind than me, as I was genuinely surprised by more than one reveal.
Fresh on the heels from the toe-tapping La La Land, Ryan Gosling fronts the film as the aforementioned replicant, Officer K, playing the character in an interesting and appropriately robotic manner. The inner-workings of his mind and motives are often unclear, which make for compelling viewing. Besides Gosling, the film is also a great vehicle for a number of actors, giving them meaty and interesting characters to play. Without wanting to pat the film on the back too much, there are definitely some unusual female characters, most notably Sylvia Hoeks as a sinisterly calm villain Luv, who is certainly one of the least cliche’d bad guys I’ve seen in a large budget film for quite some time, which I mean as real praise.
Other female roles can err on the problematic, with prostitutes and hologram girlfriends, but I don’t see the rampant female objectification some other viewers have taken issue with. The world of Blade Runner is certainly a murky one, and therefore seedy aspects have to be explored, and once you’ve seen the film I’m sure you’ll be unable to deny that parts of this are at least presented in some of the most visually interesting ways you’ve seen in film.
To get the most out of the experience, I’d highly recommend viewing the original first. This’ll not only help with a few narrative threads, but also give you a sense of the world you’ll be entering, while also hyping you up for yet another scene in a film that involves Harrison Ford emerging from the shadows.