DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

Blade Runner 2049

Director - Denis Villeneuve - 2017

"Filthy genius movie"
Akin to the unicorn referenced in the 1982 movie, the new Blade Runner is truly a rare breed of a film; it is original without destroying any of the achievements of its predecessor - in cinemas everywhere!

Science fiction hasn’t always been dystopia fiction wrapped with moral ambiguity. After the impact of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982), combined with the art house aesthetics of Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979) the future was never the idealistic alluring it once was, now there was only sadness and decay. Following in the style of Scott, Denis Villeneuve brings an astute eye to the paradoxically beautiful yet unforgiving futuristic Los Angeles. Working in the same genre as Arrival, that film’s vast scope for sci-fi proved only the surface to its non-linear narrative and emotive core. Villeneuve’s next step was always going to be interesting, but nobody expected it to be Blade Runner 2049.

Adopting the 30 years later template of Star Wars etc, Villeneuve’s work takes place in the exact same space as the original, only humanity has driven itself into a deeper state of pollution and overpopulation. Not only are have the replicants been modified to be the perfect foot soldiers of the human race, the subsequent years have seen an electro-magnetic pulse blackout, worm farms installed as protein alternatives and the rise of The Wallace Corporation, replacing Tyrell as masters of AI manufacturing.

Evolving technologies of holograms, humanity has created a climate that leaves little room for actual human interaction. Granted these themes have been discussed numerous times in poignant films like Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 2014) and Her (Spike Jonze, same year) Blade Runner 2049 somehow manages to find new room in which to illustrate and debate this topical debate – visually and narratively. The logic behind this evolution in human technology and interaction is highly plausible, giving emotional gravitas to K and the relationship he holds with his sex hologram, Joi (Ana de Armas). Commoditised and marketed as the ultimate female pleasure across the city in gigantic neo size, Armas’ beauty is reminiscent of Sean Young’s Rachel.

Part of Wallace’s replicant army is K (Ryan Gosling) works for the LAPD as a blade runner. Unlike Deckard before him, it is made crystal clear from the opening moments that K is not human. The clarity that instantly introducing this character as a replicant frees the film up, leaving the is-he-or-is-he-not debate of Deckard and Blade Runner trailing behind. After an opening encounter with an older replicant model named Sapper Morton (David Bautista), K must track down a further target, leading him to a discover the chiselled Deckard (Harrison Ford). Like the great films of Hitchcock, so much of the film’s plot lies in mystery.

The small-scale models of the original are works of art, helping to create some of the most vivid science fiction world-building from figures the size of a thumbnail. Still, with Rogen Deakins as DoP, Villeneuve imbues a grander scale, with help from Dennis Gassner’s production design. Amalgamating with the sounds of Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch, sight and sound form together intrinsically, demonstrating cinema’s visual excellence, in ways that cannot be achieved in other arts.

Adopting harsher synth than Vangelis’ score, the diegetic and non-diegetic sounds of dystopian Los Angeles could be found in any ominous Berlin-based nightclub such as Berghain. As in Sicario (Denis Villeneuve, 2015), Deakins’ uses the natural darkness of the frame to illicit chiaroscuro, creating some of the most powerful vistas of 2017.

An extension of the numerous self-assured protagonists he has portrayed over decades, it’s in this performance as Deckard that Harrison Ford gives one his finest, most tender portrayals. Eliciting melancholy in a form some, including myself, thought we would never be seen from Ford again, his Deckard feels tactile and nuanced without feeling overplayed.

Akin to the unicorn referenced in Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049 is truly a rare breed of a film; it is original without destroying any of the achievements of its predecessor. Villeneuve crafts a true modern blockbuster that will survive in an era of formulaic superhero flicks. Flourishing with a glimmering moment of emotion, Villeneuve closes with an emotive core – comparable to Arrival. As the screen turned to black, I was thankful to emote overwhelming sensations of joy and sadness. Pinching myself, I was reminded of my humanity – this cannot be said of those replicants, who have seen so many things, such as starships burning off the shoulder of Orion…

Blade Runner 2049 is out in cinemas across the UK and the world right now.



"Filthy genius movie"

By Alasdair Bayman - 07-10-2017

By Alasdair Bayman - 07-10-2017

Alasdair Bayman is a recent graduate of English Literature at The University of Manchest...

DMovies Poll

Should smoking in cinema be banned?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Perhaps no other 20th century artist has captured [Read More...]
Time flies by! DMovies was launched in February [Read More...]
The British and the French have joined efforts! [Read More...]
Turn on the fan on and grab yourself [Read More...]
Films quotes are very powerful not just because [Read More...]

Read More

Alien: Covenant

Ridley Scott
2017

Jeremy Clarke - 09-05-2017

The latest Alien franchise entry is an effective horror sci-fi, teeming with shocks, scares and twists, but it lacks the mythological depth of 'Prometheus' and the twisted sexual connotations of 'Alien' - finally on iTunes! [Read More...]

Arrival

Denis Villeneuve
2016

Maysa Monção - 07-11-2016

Hello, is it peace you're looking for? Aliens have landed on Earth, and Amy has to decipher their parlance and figure out their intentions, before it's too late - outside-the-box sci-fi wins Oscar [Read More...]

Midnight Special

Jeff Nichols
2016

Maysa Monção - 12-04-2016

Not your average sci-fi movie: Jeff Nichols' 'Midnight Special' sheds new light - quite literally - in a very conventional cinema genre, as luminosity drives the movie narrative [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *