Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright, Jared Leto, Ana De Armas, Harrison Ford, Mackenzie Davis, Dave Bautista (Rated MA – 163 min).

Now considered a certified influential science-fiction classic ahead of its time. In actuality when first released in 1982, Blade Runner was a monumental box-office flop, misunderstood by audiences who were expecting a Star Wars type intergalactic adventure as opposed to a futuristic neo-noir simmering detective drama. Over time it became a distinct favourite and genuinely superior amongst the genre.

Five variable versions later, the most recent being a certified Final-Cut curated by Director Ridley Scott, the long gestating sequel has arrived with much secrecy and a returning, vintage Harrison Ford alongside a compassionate Ryan Gosling in a similar role to his elder predecessor.

Los Angeles is covered in smog and snow creating smoky atmospheric pressure where you can barely see into the distance and great walls surround the city keeping out huge rising oceans. More advanced flying cars hum overhead.

Gosling is ‘K’, a grim police authority on a hunt for renegade Nexus 6 replicants (humanoid androids) who are still functional, hiding within the overpopulated city. Following his mission has cyberpunk slow burning familiarity to the original, all cinematic high art. Moody, evolving and impressionistic storytelling from French Canadian auteur Den Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario).

The magnificent Robin Wright, as police lieutenant Joshi, is keeping secrets from the past which ‘K’ feels is inability to communicate truth so he goes rogue for the missing infamous Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford).

In the mix of brilliance through this masterpiece is god complex inventor Niander Wallace, immaculately portrayed by Jared Leto (Panic Room). His diction is pronunciation personified, ramping up the passive aggressive intensity of doom his character expels. Leto is astonishing, fragmented into a full grandiose ensemble.  

A visual feast from superlative cinematographer Roger Deakins, the images on show here are Academy Award worthy. 

Not for everyone. It helps to know the original to follow the complex existential journey delivering answers left untold in 1982 while also asking inevitable new questions.

Shane A. Bassett

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