Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Blade Runner 2049 is a science fiction thriller directed by Denis Villeneuve, and a sequel to the classic 1982 Blade Runner by Ridley Scott. With a cast led by Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, Blade Runner 2049 takes place in a dark and dystopic future where humans and replicants (constructed, synthetic humans) uneasily share world on the brink of collapse.
We follow LAPD Officer and “Blade Runner” K, a replicant, played by Ryan Gosling in his search for Deckard, played by Harrison Ford. The story revolves around a conspiracy that could break down the barriers between humans and replicants, giving the latter freedom and rebellion against the former.
Blade Runner 2049 is a visual masterpiece. As I rewatched it, I was again struck by the cinematography and sound design that makes this movie a work of art. There are iconic shots in this movie that will appear in books about cinematography and art direction for years to come.
As with the first Blade Runner, this film is loaded with symbolic references to both art and religion. Replicants are refered to as “angels” by the mysterious and cruel CEO of Wallace Corporation (played by the excellent Jared Leto), who also sees himself as a “God” for his “children”. The references to a rebellion by replicants, and free will, points toward stories and myths from the Bible. Even K’s journey to the wasteland and radiated zones of Las Vegas can be seen as a Paradise Lost-like journey into Hell to find the rebelling “angels”, and freedom from “God”.
And throughout, the symbolism and metaphors never once becomes ham-handed. The acting by our two mains, Gosling and Ford, is spot on. And despite a sometimes slow pacing in a world, dark, dystopic and dreary, I was never at any point bored in its 2 hour 44 minute run time.
Blade Runner 2049 is a movie that manages the almost impossible: to be equal to its predecessor, itself a classic of film history.
Top marks and highly recommended.