I have no words. Ok, well I have to write a review, so I should really try finding some. Blade Runner 2049 has resonated with me more than any other movie in recent memory.
2017 has been a little pocket rocket when it comes to good films – we’ve already been graced with Dunkirk, IT, and now Blade Runner 2049 has surpassed them all. I’d even go so far as to say that this sequel does for its predecessor what Terminator 2: Judgment Day did for The Terminator.
As a package, this film is wholly beautiful – yet it is also a misanthropic tragedy. Set in 2049 (obviously) it is a glimpse into a dystopian but not unbelievable future, where climate change and overpopulation have eroded any semblance of what we call a society now.
I don’t think I will ever forget the first time I saw Los Angeles after the opening scene, as Ryan Gosling flies his cop car into the city. It is a grey and stormy afternoon, and coupled with Hans Zimmer’s most unnerving score to date, the viewer is hit with Tokyo x1000. The sense of scale and misery is raw cinema.
We have almost the perfect crew to thank for this visual fiesta – my favourite composer, my favourite director of photography (Roger Deakins – Aussies represent!), and fast becoming my favourite director, Dennis Villeneuve, the man who smashed it out of the park with Sicario and Arrival before this.
The setup is simple and it is all you should go into this movie knowing. Gosling plays ‘K’, an LAPD cop hunting down rogue Replicants, which are basically old AI robots that now think and act for themselves. The film unfolds into a personal story on a much grander scale, raising many ethical and moral questions of what it means to be human, and the effect we have on ourselves, each other and the world as a whole.
It’s no spoiler that Harrison Ford is in the film too, reprising his role of Deckard, the titular Blade Runner from the classic film. Ford delivers one of his best performances to date. But all the actors in their roles own the screen, and it almost becomes a competition as to where your eyes are going to look next, in an artificial world that looks and feels so real, too real – CGI is incredible now.
I started this review with no words, now on a roll I could write a 2000 word essay about everything this movie is and what it achieves and the bar it has now set for what films can be. Sure, it runs quite long, and the Jared Leto character is a bit naff, but thematically it is perfect, visually it is perfect – even the sound design and costumes mean everyone involved deserves an all-encompassing pat-on-the-back. I’ve been thinking about this movie for days.
Blade Runner 2049 peers into a world where sequels are good again, simultaneously entertaining, poignant and foreboding.
I give …WAIT FOR IT… 10/10. For only the second time ever.
Blade Runner 2049 is showing at Sunset Cinema Canberra on Saturday 9 December. Book your tickets here.