If anyone knows me well, you’ll know that I love big budget sci-fi movies. Naturally, I have been looking forward all year to seeing Blade Runner 2049, a film where the world of humans and synthetic humans, known here as replicants, attempt to coexist against the barren wasteland that the Earth has become. In this world, replicants are hunted by blade runners, who seek to bring the insurgents to justice.
This sequel to the original 1982 epic picks up thirty years after the events of the first film and follows LAPD Officer K, a *spoiler alert but not really* replicant and blade runner, played marvelously by Academy Award-nominee, Ryan Gosling. With him as the lead, I had high hopes for the movie, and those expectations were certainly met with this stellar sounding, incredibly acted, visual masterpiece.
I can’t go any further with this review without fully praising Ryan Gosling’s performance as K. It will go down as one of the most reserved, yet spectacular roles in the recent years of science fiction. He is always great, but this one saw him bring more. He created a character with a story so heartbreaking and moving that you can’t help but resonate with him on some level if you have ever considered yourself to be special or set apart from the crowd. The film sees his character (without giving spoilers) rise to the occasion and fall from his own grace all in the span of a few hours.
This movie did sound very well. Whether it was Gosling’s quiet crunching footsteps against the sand or the blare of the score, the sound mixed perfectly with the picturesque landscapes that it painted through brilliant cinematography.
It truly seemed more like art than entertainment. I fully expect it to sweep the Oscars early next year in all the technical categories, and deservedly so. It is one of the most beautiful movies of this year and surpasses the intricate details of its 1982 predecessor.
Like the original film, this one poses many questions with the viewer left to decide what happens and how to interpret the themes. The most intriguing theme is this: what does it mean to be human? Beyond the flesh and bone, we have a soul, and throughout the movie, it’s made clear that this is the one thing we have over the replicants. With that soul, we make life worth living, and that’s really the point that this film tries to make: no matter what you are or where you came from, the objective of life is to live, even if you are a replicant.
If you’re walking into the theater this weekend expecting a big budget sci-fi noir film, your expectations will be generously met, but don’t walk in expecting an action flick or you will be sorely disappointed. We do get action that is both gritty and perfectly paced, but its sparse. This is a classic mystery set against a future world inside the Blade Runner universe. If you’re up for a great adventure full of hidden twists and turns, go check out Blade Runner 2049 and prepare for an incredible film with a gripping message.
(I own no photos)