In a year full of outstanding film, Blade Runner 2049 stands out as a visual masterpiece. The world is similar but far more futuristic and gives off the best cyber punk vibe I have ever seen in a film. From the holograms, to flying cars and aesthetic of the world, this futuristic utopia is stunning. A continuation of a film that came out over 3 decades ago, the film picks up the story 30 years after the events of the original. A new model of replicant exists and some act as Blade Runners. Ryan Gosling plays one such replicant known as “K”.
Gosling gives off one of his best performances yet and demonstrates again how versatile he is. From comedy to drama, to action hero, Gosling is the Harrison Ford of our day which makes it even better that he plays the lead in the continuation of a franchise Ford started long ago. Gosling plays the part of obedient replicant well but yet there is something extremely human about him and the others you meet in the film. Interestingly the best chemistry in the film comes from Gosling’s K and Ana de Arma’s Joi, a holographic personified and highly advanced version of what Amazon Alexa and others like it. Arma and Gosling play off of each other with amazing chemistry and Hollywood would do well to put them together again. Beyond the great acting, the writing for these two is fantastic. Both are technology without a soul, as the film mentions, yet there is a feeling of companionship and love between the two, despite the fact that they are beings who shouldn’t be able to comprehend love.
Jared Leto shines as well, so much so that one of my only issues with the film is that he is in it too little. Niander Wallace, head of Wallace Corporation speaks with elegance and in such a unique way that I was mesmerized by his every word. Lines such as “all the courage in the world, cannot alter fact,” are delivered with such grace that only an actor such as Leto can muster. I found myself terrified and in love with his character at the same time. Admittedly I have always loved good villains and Leto pulls off a great performance here yet, is absent far too much, considering he is the main villain.
As stated before, the imagery and cinematography in this film are nothing short of a masterpiece. Director Denis Villeneuve brought the Blade Runner world to life and modernized it so perfectly that I cannot find fault with any of the world building. The architecture, music, effects, costumes, and culture are all in perfect harmony and present a world in turmoil, a world that struggles with its identity. Are replicants a problem? Should they be given more rights? These questions offer a look at the world today and some of the civil rights questions asked in current politics.
Harrison Ford was good but, to be honest, his role was only good because it played into the plot so much. This isn’t an inherently negative comment so much as his role was sufficient for the story but nothing extraordinary. The stars of the film were more the story and world than anything. The story sees K in an investigation that ultimately leads to some stellar payoffs at the end. As cryptic as that was, you will thank me for not ruining any of the amazing plot point. This is a film that makes you think, examine what humanity means and feel. It isn’t just another popcorn flick. Instead, it is a film that, like the original, will stand the test of time due to its strong story, characters, score and message.
5 out of 5 Couch Cushions!!!!