After seeing “Blade Runner 2049” directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Ryan Gosling, I am still pondering many questions. That seems to be the mark of the “Blade Runner” films: never giving you all of the answers. Having just watched the original 1982 classic myself, I can tell you that this film can most definitely call itself a true sequel and, in my opinion, a successful one.
“Blade Runner 2049” tells the story of K, played by Ryan Gosling, one of a new breed of obedient Replicants (artificially created humanoids), who is filling the role of a Blade Runner, a replicant hunter, in the year 2049. He stumbles across a mystery that once revealed could change the course of not just his life, but that of humanity as well.
Right away I could tell that one of this films major strengths was the performance from Ryan Gosling; he goes from emotionally reserved in some scenes to emotionally frantic in others, all with tremendous ease. His relationship with his companion Joi, played by Ana de Armas, is also a major emotional aspect of the film.
Also showing their best performance in the film, is Harrison Ford. He is back in top form as Deckard from the original film, bringing a large amount of grit and pathos to one of his original roles that defined him as an actor. Other principal players such as Sylvia Hoeks, Jared Leto, and Robin Wright all do fine jobs rounding out the cast and bringing the right amount of composure and intensity to their respective roles.
The other main star of the film is the utterly stunning visuals of the film. From the smoggy cities of future California to the junk heaps to the deserted wastelands, this film showcases just what happens when humans lose their humanity in their desire to become more advanced. The technology and futuristic visuals are shown through top notch visual, set designer and some impressive CGI effects, which all serve to further engross the viewer in this futuristic world. Along with the visuals comes the utterly haunting and beautiful soundtrack that emphasizes the struggle between humanity and inhumanity in this film, capturing not only the spirit of the original film but encompassing the overall tone of the film perfectly.
My only criticism of the film is that sometimes the transitions between scenes can be a bit sloppy. In some scenes great care was taken to show how a character gets from point A to point B while in others, characters arrive at a location with little information given as to how they got there. Additionally, as I mentioned earlier, there are some questions that are left unanswered or left intentionally vague, which may infuriate those seeking closure for some particular plot lines or character threads. However, much like the original film, the ambiguity is what adds to the overall mystique of the film, leaving the viewer with some things to think about after the theater lights bring everyone back to reality.
“Blade Runner 2049” is a character driven, visually stunning, beautifully scored masterwork of Science Fiction. It can stand proudly alongside its 1980s predecessor as an extremely competent and thought provoking piece of cinema, which might need a couple of viewings to really grasp all of its hidden nuances and secrets. This movie is definitely one you cannot miss.