“Blade Runner 2049” Review
After a routine job, the LAPD learn of an android that gave birth. Fearing the social chaos that would follow the revelation of this information, Blade Runner K is assigned to destroy all evidence, but makes a chilling discovery. After failing a test that will lead to his arrest, K follows evidence to Las Vegas where he finds Rick Deckard. But when an android manufacturer has Deckard kidnapped, K is tasked by a group that saved him to kill Deckard.
I wrote about this movie possibly being Oscar-worthy in my last article, and it definitely is. Think about any of the big awards, and this movie deserves at least a nomination for any of them. The only problem I can think of, currently, is the subplot about the group that saves K and teases a violent revolution that you’ll have to wait for in any of the three or four sequels Sir Ridley Scott has planned. The aspiration for maximum catharsis didn’t fit with the movie’s detective story.
Denis Villeneuve is probably the best director working in Hollywood today; Christopher Nolan wishes he was Villeneuve. Nolan’s a fine director, but he leans on exposition. Villeneuve can tell a story with just pictures. Visual storytelling isn’t something that many of today’s filmmakers use, which is their own fault. But what’s even more special about it here is how Villeneuve can make some shapes, lights, and shadows not just tell a story, but make allusions and metaphors.
Before this movie came out, many thought it would get cinematographer Roger Deakins a pity Oscar. Well, if he does get it, he won’t be getting it just out of pity. Larry Fong may be the best cinematographer working today, but Deakins sure does give him a run for his money. The cold blue streets, the glowing tan interior of Wallace’s offices, the hot pink neon lights, the lime yellow shops, the rusty orange desert of Vegas, and those awesome drone shots look beyond stellar.
The CG, practical sets, vehicles, and costumes are also immaculate. I don’t even have a hint of an idea how they got the technology to make a holographic character like Joi work. I also love the continuity of the visual language from the first film. When the original came out in 1982, Scott envisioned a future set a couple years from now where current companies like Sony and Atari ruled the planet. Atari may be dead, Sony may be dying in the film industry, and none of this may happen even in 2049, but it doesn’t matter because this film is smart enough to not dwell on its ridiculous setting.
The screenwriting is also fantastic. The sci-fi ideas are both plentiful and incredible. They’re striking and will have you thinking for days. Also, despite the blockbuster budget and franchise banner, this is a fairly quiet and slow movie. It makes small moments huge and is confident in taking its time saying what it wants to say without getting lost or confused.
The score is incredible, too. Maestro Hans Zimmer composed the gorgeous score along with Benjamin Wallfisch. Villeneuve loves the sounds of the original movie and made sure that Zimmer and Wallfisch used a Yamaha CS-80, the same synthesizer Vangelis used in 1982. I love almost everything Zimmer does, but it’s nice to hear him use something somebody else picked and it sounds absolutely fantastic. My only complaint is that there isn’t a lot of score to be heard. Oh, I guess that’s two things wrong with the movie.
Incredible direction, wonderful screenwriting, amazing cinematography, great acting, fantastic music, Harrison Ford, and beautiful sets make this movie one of the best of the year. I’m giving it a 9.5/10, which is a shiny A.
“Blade Runner 2049” is directed by Denis Villeneuve, written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, produced by Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson, and Bud and Cynthia Yorkin, stars Ryan Gosling (K/Joe), Jared Leto (Wallace), Ana de Armas (Joi), and Harrison Ford (Deckard), and was distributed by Warner Bros. on October 6, 2017.