After originally bombing at the box office in 1982, “Blade Runner” has since become a highly praised and revered sci-fi noir film. 35 years later, director Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival,” “Sicario”) presents “Blade Runner 2049,” and, like everything else Villeneuve touches, it’s absolutely spectacular.
The film follows LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”), a cop hunting down illegal replicants: renegade bioengineered human slaves incapable of breeding. After finding a corpse while on an assignment, K discovers that the body was a replicant woman who died during childbirth. Thus begins an investigation into who this woman was, how she could have become pregnant, and where the child is now.
Ryan Gosling’s character unravels the many layers surrounding this mystery and his limits are tested as he quickly discovers he’s more involved with this enigma than he ever could have imagined. All of this is perfectly executed by Gosling’s intense acting prowess throughout the entire film.
Harrison Ford (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) reprises his role as Rick Deckard which is also a welcome addition. The gravitas he brings to the film is perfect, delivering a performance laced with heartache and pain. The true greatness of “Blade Runner 2049” never would have been achieved without Ford.
With Gosling and Ford providing fantastic work with their characters, the story is allowed to reach incredible heights. The narrative is told thoughtfully and patiently, each new mystery revealed at the appropriate time. It’s engaging, while never truly distracting from the core beauty of the film; the world of Blade Runner.
The cyber punk aesthetic is littered with gorgeous visuals. The detail that went into building the world of “Blade Runner 2049” is undeniably impressive, creating a sci-fi universe that is both mystifying and relatable. Every second on screen is a treat to behold, as color is utilized wonderfully and carefully. Vibrant hues stand out, upholding the tone and varied desolation of each locale.
The crowning achievement of “Blade Runner 2049” is that the film is miles ahead of its predecessor in every possible avenue. The tone is more consistent and mesmerizing. The visuals are more striking and memorable. The acting is more purposeful and nuanced. The direction is more precise and deliberate. Most importantly, it’s much more fair with its treatment of women and sex.
“Blade Runner 2049” is nothing short of a masterpiece. I cannot accurately describe the respect and admiration I have for this film. From its opening moments to the last, final shot, everything is thoughtfully constructed to present a story of beauty and pain. Please, support this brilliant and nuanced work of art. It deserves your time, just as much as you deserve to see it.