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Blade Runner 2049 Review

Cole Greene

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The word “masterpiece” means, a work of outstanding artistry, skill or workmanship. What director Denis Villenueve has crafted here with Blade Runner 2049, is a masterpiece in filmmaking. This ambitious, stylistic, and beautiful film serves as a perfect companion piece and follow up to the classic original film “Blade Runner”. Not only does this sequel live up to the name of its predecessor, but I believe that it surpasses it in every way. Rather than being similar to other reboots or long-delayed sequels that merely remix the themes and characters of the beloved original to give viewers the comfort of familiarity, this film is remarkably ambitious and it uses the topics and questions raised by the original and continue that same conversation rather than simply repeating that which made it successful in the first place. That being said, the team behind this film has made one of the most deeply philosophical and challenging sci-fi films of all time, it is a film that never holds your hand as an audience member on the journey through its deconstruction of the human soul and what it means to be human.

Trying to describe the plot of this movie is a very difficult thing to do, as the plot in itself is a spoiler. So I will try to be very vague when describing what you need to know going in. The events of the film takes us to Los Angeles in 2049. It has been decades since the events of the first film and we follow the Blade Runner known as agent K played by Ryan Gosling. His duty as a Blade Runner is to track down old replicants who have gone into hiding after events that have taken place between the two films. These replicants were part of a new breed of replicants that have open-life cycles, meaning they can live long past their originally intended lifespan. The film starts with agent K tracking down a replicant who is just trying to live a peaceful life as a protein farmer (played by Dave Bautista, with his best work as an actor thus far), and what agent K finds there starts what is essentially a detective story, that spurs K into solving a mystery about his own past, the history of replicants, the power of memory, and what it means to be a human being.

Whether or not you are interested in the story of Blade Runner 2049, the visuals and special effects here are worth the price of admission alone. This is a beautiful film to look at and if cinematographer Roger Deakins doesn’t at least get a nomination for best cinematography at the Oscars this upcoming year then there is truly something wrong with the awards voters. Another aspect of this film that cannot go overlooked is the score (helmed by Hans Zimmer). The score here emulates notes from the original film but truly defines itself as being its own thing and plays a huge part in immersing you in the world that has been crafter here.

These performances across the board here are all fantastic, with standouts being Ana De Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, and Ryan Gosling. Ana De Armas and Sylvia Hoeks are both newcomers to the eyes of mainstream audiences, but I feel as if people will want to know their names after the film ends. Their work here is fantastic and their presence as strong female characters in this film is something that is markedly better here than in the original film. While the two female actresses are the breakouts of the film, this is the “Ryan Gosling” show and he brings the best performance he has ever given to the table. What Gosling is asked to do here is to convey more emotion with his mannerisms and facial expressions rather than bursting out with emotion and making a scene of things. It’s these quiet human-like expressions that are far more relatable and human than the outbursts you might see in a lesser film. Also to be noted, is the understated and subdued performance of Harrison Ford, who reprises his role as Rick Deckard. Ford isn’t in the film as much as anticipated going into the film (he doesn’t show up until nearly 2 hours into the 2hr 44min runtime). While he may not be in much of the film; the time he does spend on screen is fantastic. This marks one of the best performances by the aged actor and will definitely garner some best supporting actors buzz around award season.

This is a film that will be examined and taught in film school 20 years from now, for how deep and thought provoking this film is. Blade Runner 2049 is a film that doesn’t make sense with how good it is. It is a film that defied all odds and expectations to simply be great. Blade Runner 2049 makes its mark in film history as an impactful and deeply emotionally satisfying film that demands the viewer’s attention and delivers satisfying moments in spades. It ends up being not only one of the greatest sequels of all time, but one of the greatest films of all time.

10/10

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Blade Runner 2049 Review