5. Blade Runner 2049 Review (INCLUDES SPOILERS)
THIS REVIEW INCLUDES SPOILERS!!
DO NOT ENTER IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS!!
Please only read on if you have seen the film or are not fussed about Spoilers.
When I get asked for my favourite film of all time, I instantly go to Man on Fire. 13 years ago, Denzil Washington went on a blood fuelled mission of vengeance to get those who took a little girl from him. The story, the script, the style, the acting – everything was just spot on and it has heavily influenced my first novel, One by One. Gladiator, The Departed, The Raid 2, In Bruges and The Crow are all up there as much watch at least once a year. But the film that sits next to Man on Fire, is Blade Runner. Even now, 35 years on, it is still such a phenomenal piece of Sci-Fi Noir that just depicts a future that is both bleak but brilliant.
Now I was slightly hesitant when I heard they were revisiting Blade Runner. It had been so long and look at what has happened to the likes of Robocop or Total Recall when they redid those. (Just to say, I enjoyed the new Total Recall and wished it had been a loose sequel or another story within the Total Recall universe.) When Denis Villeneuve signed on to direct, I was sold. For me, he is the best director in Hollywood at the moment. If you haven’t watched Prisoners, Sicario or Arrival, go and do it!! NOW!!
Slowly, the cast was announced and I started to get really excited. Ryan Gosling is limited but great at his limitations so was a great choice for the stoic Agent K. Amy De Palmas is a great actress and so beautiful. Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers not Suicide Squad) has some decent chops. Robin Wright is also a great actress. And of course, Harrison Ford.
To most, Harrison Ford is Han Solo. To many, he is Indianna Jones. To a rare few, he is an ass kicking president on a hijacked plane. But to me, he is Deckard. It’s my favourite role of his and as excited as I was that he was returning, it did make me think they had ruined the ambiguous end of the original film. Is Deckard a replicant?
So did the film meet my expectations?
My biggest fear going in was they were going to turn the film into a modern day franchise, with a big CGI finish and a tonne of explosions. The film couldn’t be further from it. What we get instead, is a slow burning, tension filled mystery thriller, wrapped in one of the most beautifully realised sci-fi worlds I have seen. The old looking tech is still used, but the vision of the world is just incredible.
From the first sweeping shot of the solar panels, to Gosling sat in his apartment with his hologram girlfriend, it is just amazing. Also, I will say now, the way they bring the Joi character to life is phenomenal and the scene where she super imposes herself over a hooker so she can physically be with K is as stunning as it is creepy. (Also, the woman playing the hooker is the spitting image of Katy Perry!)
As I mentioned, the storyline is a slow burner. It takes it’s time to build not only the world around Kay, but his reason and motivation to begin his case. When pieces start falling into place, he eventually tracks down Deckard to try and fill in the blanks. They two have a great chemistry and Ford looks like he is having a blast. Everyone went wild for The Force Awakens, which was decent. But Ford kind of seemed like he was there for the pay check, whereas here, he seemed on his a-game! His performance is great and as I mentioned earlier, does the sequel answer the question of Deckard being a replicant? NO!! It even alludes to the possibility that he is, and that was really appreciated.
The idea that there was a ‘born’ replicant is very chilling and all avenues start pointing towards it being K. As he unfurls the mystery, we get even greater knowledge of how replicants are made and how their memories are implanted. The scene where K discovers his memory actually happened is heart-breaking and Gosling’s is electric. Whilst we are on the subject, as a big Gosling fan, I have felt his film choices have been pretty naff since Drive with the exception of La La Land. This however, is such a great role and the best part is, he plays it selflessly. This never feels like a Gosling film, with him broodily staring and acting dreamy. Here, he plays a replicant and he plays it VERY well.
As the film unfurls, the big twists hits very well and I do feel I should have seen it coming sooner.
When it is revealed that K is not the child, but the doctor who creates the memories, I almost applauded. It was almost too obvious but I didn’t peg that the film was going to take a left turn. So bravo!
The last thing I will compliment before running through a few negatives, is that this film is just a feast for the eyes. My best friend and I went to the IMAX and it was worth EVERY penny. From the landscapes, the sets, the CGI but also the choreography, it is just superb. I can’t remember a more beautiful film to look at.
Now there were a few negatives, one of them being the length of the film. At no point did I check my watch or think that it dragged, but the film clocks in at a whopping 2 hours and 43 minutes!! It could easily shave 20-30 minutes off, but then it would deny you a little of the breath-taking cinematography and also that slow build, which I thought really helped the film. I can see why people complained about it, and unless you’re in it because you’re into Blade Runner, you probably will start clock watching.
The other negative sadly, is the ending. I really enjoyed the film, I thought Leto did well with what he was given, and despite his under developed character was a creepy creator and was interested to see more. Luv, his replicant assistant who craves superiority was a good villain, but didn’t match up to Rutger Hauer’s brilliant Roy Batty. I am grateful they didn’t try to rip off his tears in the rain moment. I thought K sacrificing himself for Deckard to meet his daughter was beautifully done. But there was this underground group of replicants, with a woman with only one eye, who spoke of a rebellion coming and then we don’t even get to see Deckard speak to his daughter. It had that Inception-esque ending, where it doesn’t wrap it up in a bow, and I am fine with that. I just felt those few things there would have made this film EVEN better.
My rating is 9/10, the only film to compete with it this year was Logan. If you missed it in the cinema, unlucky, because this truly was a film of beauty!
(I have been doing lots of book stuff too, but I thought I'd change it for this post!! Check back next week and I'll tell you all about the joys of mailing lists and formatting!!)