Cast: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Robin Wright, Jared Leto, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks & Dave Bautista.
Director: Denis Villeneuve
The Story: Its been 30 years since Deckard and Rachel disappeared and now a young LAPD officer and "blade runner", begins to unravel a mystery that will lead him to Deckard and the truth.
Those that know me well will tell you that I'm never lost for words, especially where film is concerned. This then is that rarest of occasions as I sat, silently watching the credits roll, still soaking in what I had just seen, bloody great smile on my face and utterly speechlesss.
Director Denis Villeneuve gave us one of the finest sci-fi movies in years with the intelligent, mind-bending Arrival in 2016, but BR2049 surpasses it and the original Blade Runner in terms of spectacle, world building and scope - its epic. All the familiar things are present; the neon signs for Atari, Sony, the now defunct Pan Am and of course, LA in the pouring rain. Now, I know what you're all thinking; it's Ridleyland and you'd be right. He did indeed give us one of the most distinctively designed genre films of all time, but Villeneuve has succeeded in replicating an environment that's intrinsically linked to Scott and yet still leave his stamp on the finished article. Its simultaneously familiar and alien.
The visuals, courtesy legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins, are beautifully haunting and despite being nominated for 13 Oscars, he has never won. If his work here doesn't bag that golden baldie, it would be a travesty. Honestly, my retinas were left scorched. It sounds immense too, with composers Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch creating a score that echoes Vangelis, but is also much darker with deeply unsettling roars of bass and horns that convey an almost horror-like ambience.
Its been 35 years since those first tears were shed in the rain and we now find ourselves following blade runner agent K (Gosling). His job is to track down the older Nexus 8 models of replicants whose lifespan, unlike his, is unlimited. This leads him initially, to Sapper Morton (Bautista) who has been living peacefully as a protein farmer. As expected, he will not come quietly and before K "retires" him after a brutal assault he says, "you've never seen a miracle". This leads K in to a philosophical and wide reaching investigation that slowly unfolds a 30 year old secret.
A secret that his superior Lieutenant Joshi (Wright), believes should stay buried, but the sinister Niander Wallace (Leto) badly wants and is prepared to kill for it.
Niander dispatches Luv to follow the investigation and Dutch actress Sylvia Hoeks is on scene stealing form in her first major Hollywood film, and is a real name to watch.
Eventually the clues lead K to Deckard, in hiding since he and Rachel went on the run at the end of the first movie and Harrison Ford is the best he's been in years, despite his relatively short screen time. That craggy face relaying so much hurt and longing.
Gosling too is excellent, initially showing very little emotion as K, but as the film progresses his journey leads to evolving feelings - possibly even love for his holographic girlfriend Joi (De Armas). This is the movies strongest aspect, with its slow pacing allowing time to focus on what it means to be human. Its powerful stuff and we have original Blade Runner screenwriter Hampton Fancher, with assistance from Michael Green, to thank for such well crafted characters who ultimately reach the films devastating conclusion.
The Verdict 5/5
A deeply thought provoking and moving film with jaw dropping visuals, that matches and at times, surpasses its predecessor.