**Warning some spoilers ahead**
Like most film buffs around the world, when this sequel was announced I was jumping for joy and when Denis Villeneuve of The Arrivals was confirmed as the director, I knew it would be a corker.
This film is designed to discombobulate you but in the most beautiful way possible and that’s all down to the wonderful cinematography by Roger Deakins. Ridley Scott’s 1982 Blade Runner had it’s remix of dark neo-noir, hardcore sci-fi and a touch of heart made that film a cult classic in cinematic history. 2049, puts this visual imagery to a whole new complex level.
Set in 2049 LA, a stone-faced Officer K (Ryan Gosling) is out flying his car amongst a cloudy metropolis, hunting for outdated and illegal replicants when he happens across a big secret. He and his boss Lt. Joshi (Robin Wright) agree to erase the evidence of this secret so that it doesn’t ignite trouble. Unfortunately for them, Niander Wallace (Jared Leto), a rich industrialist who also manufactures replicants, find out this secret. Wallace sends his replicant wing woman, Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) to hunt down K and bring back this secret.
Between being hunted by Luv, K struggles with his childhood memories and he soon learns that his very existence plays an important role in the secret he unearthed. We quickly learn Officer K reflects a nonchalant, emotionless attitude which mirrors the equally sombre desolate environment burdened on the inhabitants of this dystopian, isolated future.
Gosling is perfectly cast as the Officer K but the star of this film is definitely Harrison Ford. He reprises his role as moody Deckard and though we only see him towards the last 35% of the film, he steals every one of his scenes. We see him isolated with nothing but his thoughts for warmth and fans of the original film will sympathise with him as we know the harrowing ordeals he had dealt with. In fact Ford is so good that if you didn’t know any better you’d think his character was an extended cameo.
Now let’s talk vision because whilst I enjoyed the narrative, at 163 mins what kept me going through the boring bits (and there were some) was the beauty of it all.
The sound of the angry incessant rain, or the beautiful twinkle of the concrete city and the orange of the city outskirts made for some great viewing. The spectacular human hologram and dazzling advertisement signs were just simply superb. Everything was made so slick and even with replicants, androids and other futuristic things the film still managed to feel very human. Despite the complexity of it all, the narrative is still predictable but the film makes magic mixing metaphorical plot arcs with the grits of social calamity.
The film has some strong female characters, and the fake being Joi (Ana de Armas) is really something remarkable. She embodies her character so well that you want her to be real, for you as a spectator as well as for K. Sylvia Hoeks is very intense as Luv and she does the terminator/assassin type very well. We see some scenes where she shows her emotions and you almost feel sorry for her at times. It would have been nice to see some more of Mackenzie Davis as the ambiguous escort Mariette.
It’s a long film and some parts might cure you of insomnia, but for the stunning visuals Deakins alone deserves a huge round of applause.
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista, Jared Leto
Screenplay: Hampton Fancher, Michael Green
Cinematographer: Roger Deakins
Runtime: 163 mins
Enjoy the trailer