Movie Review: Blade Runner 2049
Blade Runner 2049 is the sequel to Ridley Scott’s cult classic released in 1982. The film was directed by the great Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario) and written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green. The film stars Ryan Gosling in the lead role and continues the storyline of replicants and blade runners presented in the original. The film also features Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, and Jared Leto.
Blade Runner 2049 picks up thirty years after the original film. In the opening text, it is revealed that the Tyrell Corporation was bought out by Niander Wallace (Leto) and his corporation. This new corporation began producing replicants who would completely obey, making the older more rebellious models obsolete. The current blade runners continue to “retire” or execute the older model replicants. Officer K (Gosling) is one of these blade runners, and after executing an older replicant, he finds a curious case at the replicant’s residence. This discovery sets off the rest of the events of the film and leads K on a mission that will greatly impact the future and cause him to cross paths with former blade runner Deckard (Harrison).
This film is fairly difficult to review because to review it means to reveal some major plot points. The main mission that Gosling’s character embarks on changes the stakes and the future for both humans and replicants. So, in order to do a non-spoiler review, I’m afraid I’ll just have to resort to broad statements. In general, I’ll say that the screenwriters and Villeneuve crafted an incredible story. Each character is incredibly compelling, and the mystery that Gosling’s character is trying to uncover leaves you on the edge of your seat. There are quite a few twists and turns throughout the narrative as well, which I appreciated.
So, while I think the story is fantastic, I sincerely do not want to spoil anything. With that being said, I can say that the visuals for this movie are fantastic. While this sequel is coming out thirty-five years after the original, Villeneuve and his team were able to perfectly capture the atmosphere of the first. The haze, the coloring, and the holograms all fit into this world seamlessly. Also, the effects they implement to bring Ana de Armas’ character of Joi to life are remarkable; I feel like I spent most of the film in awe of what they brought to life once again.
Also, the performances given by the entire cast were fantastic. Harrison’s portrayal of Deckard took me back to the original, and I thought he perfectly captured the Deckard who has been hiding for thirty years. Gosling’s performance as K was incredible, and I thought he portrayed the struggles of this character well. He even managed to give his character a few moments of dry humor, which is impressive in a film that leans on the bleaker side of things. Leto’s portrayal of Wallace is sufficiently creepy, and Hoeks’ Luv is a terrifying villain to find yourself facing. I also loved seeing Robin Wright in another compelling role this year, and her performance as K’s supervisor brought a lot of humanity to his character.
Blade Runner 2049 is not a perfect film, but it is one of the best sequels I think I have ever seen. There are a few moments in the second act where the momentum drops and the story seems to drag a little. However, that should probably be expected for a film that’s almost three hours long. I genuinely enjoyed this film and will be making plans to go see it again in theaters. I suggest that you experience these incredible visuals and dynamic score on the big screen, but please leave the children at home for this R-rated film. Also, while I do not think it’s necessary to watch the original beforehand, I do think you will draw more from the story if you watch the original first.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.