After 35 years, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner finally receives a sequel in the form of Blade Runner 2049 and it’s more than just a nostalgia-induced cash-grab. Director Dennis Villeneuve doesn’t merely revise old characters and ideas found within its predecessor to provide a sense of familiarity towards the audience (unlike Star Wars: The Force Awakens). Villeneuve takes it in a bold direction by further exploring the themes and questions posed in the original, delving deeper into the existentialist philosophy ingrained within the film.
Ryan Gosling plays K, a blade runner uncovering a mystery that may change the course of the dystopian future into utter disorder. His investigation leads him to cross paths with Harrison Ford’s character, Rick Decker (the protagonist of the first film), while being pursued by the malicious corporate leader, Niander Wallace (Jared Leto).
Gosling was a perfect fit for leading man as he seamlessly embodies the emotions of K’s inner existential turmoil. The script doesn’t present Gosling with much dialogue, though it doesn’t pull the film down as every emotional depth shown by Gosling is indicated through the use of facial expressions and body language which he nails throughout his performance. Ford’s performance shows that he isn’t just phoning it in. His portrayal of Deckard does evoke a sense of familiarity to indicate that this is in fact the Deckard from the first film, though a much more grizzled and broken version of the character since the audience last saw him.
Roger Deakins again proves he is a juggernaut within the realm of cinematography as he exceeds in expanding the world of the original film. His use of shot composition and colour contrast coupled with the amazing visual effects not only brings the neon occupied Los Angeles to life, it also enhances the film’s primary existential philosophy.
Blade Runner 2049 is one of those rare sequels that doesn’t rely on the narrative of its predecessor to succeed in crafting an original piece of cinema. Like the original, this film is truly one of a kind as it pushes the boundaries of sci-fi as a genre, earning its spot as one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time.
Duration: 163 Minutes