Blade Runner 2049 (2017) - Film Review
Rating: 4 Stars
Set 30 years after the original, we follow the story of Officer K (Ryan Gosling) a replicant Blade Runner employed by LAPD to hunt and execute his own kind, and his eventual journey to true freedom.
The impressive visual scope of the film is brought to life by painstakingly detailed miniature model sets. Stylistic changes may leave hardcore fans reminiscing over the grimy neon lit streets of the original, instead being treated to a refreshingly cleaner view of the city. The hulking LAPD headquarters towering over the skyline and Wallace Corporation offices cutting through the entrenched metropolis below are examples that showcase the vibrant creativity of the film. The authoritarian nature of these symbolic settings strike key visuals to illuminate Officer K's struggle with his own identity and place within the power structures they represent.
We also travel outside the claustrophobic bustling city to explore desolate ruins and landscapes tortured by industry. The cold and dark urban palette of the original film is expanded to include a richer variety of earthy and organic tones, working as a backdrop to Officer K's revelations into replicant creation. The sandstorm swept ruins of Las Vegas are shrouded in a glowing orange hue, concealing the man-made relics of a previous era. The small-scale constructions allow Roger Deakins' Oscar winning cinematography to create an unreal world of impressive depth, allowing for imaginative exploration of the events since the original film.
Bladerunner 2049 is a great example of how the Sci-Fi genre can be used to explore the bold themes of humanity, equality and individualism, with a thoroughly intriguing plot to carry the film through its admittedly daunting 163-minute run-time. An (albeit purposefully) stilted performance by Ryan Gosling as the lead may leave some viewers feeling that the protagonist lacks personality, but the large cast of supporting characters are able to inject the necessary emotion into the scenes where needed. The film is an intensely enjoyable watch, regardless of interest in Sci-Fi or the original, and deserves a much wider audience, especially in light of its unfortunately poor box-office performance.
By Tom Foord