Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve | 163 minutes | science fiction thriller | Actors: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Sylvia Hoeks, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Barkhad Abdhi, Dave Bautista, Ana de Armas, Robin Wright, Hiam Abbas, Jared Leto, Sallie Harmsen
Director Denis Villeneuve is an artist, and he will always let you know that there is no arguing with it. All his films are beautifully shot, often contain thoughtful conclusions and they never lose sight of character development. His latest creation, ‘Blade Runner 2049’, he wanted to give that same Villeneuve treatment at all costs. Many other colleagues could not do justice to a sequel to ‘Blade Runner’ from 1982. Always so modest, those artists.
But let’s face it: the best man has a point. The original film (in which so-called Blade Runners hunt for indistinguishable robots called Replicants) was one of a kind, introducing a graphic style that has since been adopted by dozens of science fiction and anime films. Questions about created life also presented themselves and are the reason that not all questions about the film have been answered yet. In addition to interestingly reinventing the style and answering any ambiguities from the previous installment, the sequel to ‘Blade Runner’ also had to stand on its own and introduce new locations, characters and conflicts. Basically standard requirements for a sequel, but in the world of ‘Blade Runner’ standard is not an option. After all, the level of the beloved original has to be reached and even better surpassed, something that maybe one in twenty sequels succeeds in.
But Villeneuve pulls it off and hits the bull’s eye on every level. In collaboration with his team, he releases ‘Blade Runner 2049’ a film that moves and makes the viewer think, in a world beautifully filled by the varied environments, colorful characters and generally filled with cool sci-fi. fi gadgets. And this is where cinematographer Roger Deakins comes in, bringing the world of 2049 to the fore in such a way that every shot wouldn’t look out of place in a museum opinion. It’s grand and realistic, as if it were a place one could actually visit one day. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to Deakins, he once again proves why he is one of the best cinematographers.
It’s now starting to feel like only praise, but the cast and the writers are also at their peak. Michael Green (who also co-wrote the phenomenal ‘Logan’ earlier this year) and Hampton Fancher (the screenwriter of the first film) deliver a plot in which new and old characters go through some very interesting developments. These are so numerous and cleverly found that even a generic story description would detract from the film. Furthermore, Harrison Ford is once again great as the old worn-out Blade Runner Deckard, but it is Ryan Gosling who steals the show as the young cop K. Jared Leto also splashes off the screen as the terrifying businessman Wallace and leaves a decent impression with the minimal time it appears on the screen.
All in all, ‘Blade Runner 2049’ is a special kind of movie to say the least. Fans of the original have of course been looking forward to it for a long time, but newcomers may be a bit hesitant. The fact that plot descriptions can do the film short can work both in favor or against it. Hopefully the first is more true, because to be honest this second part is more accessible than its predecessor despite the long playing time (2 hours and 43 minutes). Not only that, it is also more beautiful, more personal and above all, simply better. With that, Villeneuve and his team just manage to deliver a modern science fiction classic two years in a row (‘Arrival’ remains highly recommended). A film made for the year-end lists.