Visually Stunning, ‘Blade Runner 2049’ has grounding narrative

BY NATE ORBE — In a movie-market of rehashed sequels, Blade Runner 2049 is an ambitious, creative reboot.

Director Denis Villeneuve, known for his Oscar-nominated film Arrival, has created a faithful continuation of the original Blade Runner (1982) that brought in a new generation of fans while providing a treat for lovers of the first.

In Blade Runner 2049, Ryan Gosling plays an LAPD agent known as “K” whose mission is to hunt down rogue “replicants,” artificially created humans made for slave labor. Similar to the original, the film follows K’s investigation as he finds clues and gets closer to his target. Despite the film’s cold exterior, the viewer experiences K wrestling with emotions about the discoveries he finds in his investigation.

Harrison Ford plays Rick Deckard, the main character of the original film. In the reboot, which takes place 30 years after the events of Blade Runner, Deckard is in hiding in the ruins of Las Vegas.

Villeneuve, with the help of legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins (The Shawshank Redemption, Sicario), creates a visually striking Los Angeles in the year 2049. The duo produced an undeniably stunning film; the type that can be enjoyed with the sound off as a slide show of beautifully composed shots, not to diss the compelling score composed by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch. These elements were carefully pieced together for the audience not only to watch, but experience.

While the film is beautiful to look at, it is also a grounded narrative that provides some of the best performances of the year. In what is a surefire highlight in Gosling’s career, he gives a spectacular performance portraying fear and uncertainty, enhancing the themes of the film. Villeneuve also drew a breakthrough performance for Sylvia Hoeks, and a convincing performance by Ana de Armas.

Although the film is absolutely packed with overwhelming visuals and impressive performances, it does drag a bit running at two hours, 44 minutes. Viewers intimidated by the film’s length should invest the time to experience a phenomenal continuation of a classic story.

Blade Runner inspired generations of filmmakers. Villeneuve had enough courage to expand its legacy and succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations. While the movie-market may be flooded with uninspired sequels and reboots, Blade Runner 2049 is a film that can stand on its own through and through.

Feature photo: Ryan Gosling speaking at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con International, for “Blade Runner 2049”, at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif. Photo by Gage Skidmore. Source: Wikimedia Commons.



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