Denis Villeneuve has directed some of my favorite movies in the last few years. With his big breakthrough, Prisoners in 2013, Villeneuve has since gone on to solidify himself as one of the best directors working today. Last year’s Academy Award nominated film Arrival helped me get excited for his sequel to the 1982 cult classic film Blade Runner directed by Ridley Scott. Blade Runner 2049 is set in the same universe that was established in the first film with Harrison Ford. Ryan Gosling plays K, a young Blade Runner who discovers a long-buried secret that leads to him tracking down a former Blade Runner, Rick Deckard, who has been missing for 30 years. Blade Runner 2049 also stars Jared Leto, Robin Wright, and Ana de Armas.
I originally wasn’t too excited for Blade Runner 2049 as I saw no point in continuing the Blade Runner storyline. Upon learning of the director and watching trailers for the film, I increasingly became more interested in how it might turn out. The original is not one of my favorite films, but it’s still an enjoyable film and what I appreciated about Blade Runner 2049 is that it doesn’t rely on its predecessor to make this film enjoyable. It borrows similar elements and discusses previous characters from the 1982 film, but it never depends on the Ridley Scott movie to make it successful. Blade Runner 2049 always manages to remain fresh throughout which is a major advantage when the run time is a very long 2 hours and 44 minutes. Not once did I feel restless or bored because of the movie consistently adding new material and twists.
To my surprise, the plot wasn’t really discussed in the trailers and it always remained a mystery. In the very first few minutes of the movie the plot is set forth and places the characters in their position for the movie. Even within the first few minutes, I was already surprised with the storyline and was curious as to how it was going to pan out.
This is a visually stunning film not only with the CGI but also with cinematography that is some of the year’s best. During dialog-free scenes, I gasped at the beautiful scenery that was created in the film. The mixture of beautiful colors blended together and the large scenery created by the art department all left me stunned. Roger Deakins fills the role as director of photography for Denis Villeneuve once again and I am easily convinced that his work will be nominated for next year’s Oscars.
The acting is fantastic and you are really sucked into the depressing atmosphere that the actors created. K, played by Ryan Gosling, portrays a character that is battling his past and trying to find his place in the world. K is a unique citizen in this world set in 2049 and Ryan Gosling navigates K’s journey with care making him memorable and emphasizing the astounding character development he experiences. Harrison Ford is limited in his role as a retired Blade Runner but his performance is very comparable to his performance in 1982. Harrison Ford, just like Ryan Gosling, was battling his past demons and hiding away from the truth. I loved watching Harrison Ford’s entrance in Blade Runner 2049 and each passing scene felt like his character would get closure of some sort.
Blade Runner 2049 was another great sci-fi film that perfectly built up its characters and understood that it wasn’t going to rely on the previous film to be a new movie. Harrison Ford returned in perfect fashion and Ryan Gosling did a great job handling a character with a traumatized past. Denis Villeneuve is continuing to show audience members that he is a filmmaker not to be overlooked and anything he’s involved in with is sure to be critically successful. I was continually amazed by Blade Runner 2049 and how stunning this film looked and it easily became one of my favorite sci-fi films in recent memory.
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Blade Runner 2049 runs 2 hour 44 minutes and is rated R for violence, some sexuality, nudity and language.