Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
Want more? Listen to our discussion of 'Blade Runner 2049' on SWITCHCast
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
We look at 'Fantasia' in a brand new episode of Ink & Paint - and don't forget to subscribe to our podcast!x
review, Blade Runner 2049, Blade, Runner, 2049, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright, Ana De Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Carla Juri, Mackenzie Davis, Barkhad Abdi, Dave Bautista, David Dastmalchian, Denis Villeneuve film rating

BLADE RUNNER 2049

★★★★

A VISIONARY SEQUEL

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Jake Watt
5th October 2017

Confession time: while I am a fan of Ridley Scott’s 1982 landmark ‘Blade Runner’ (and even the first 20 minutes of its shithouse spinoff, ‘Soldier’), I’m lukewarm on the films of director Denis Villeneuve (‘Sicario’, ‘Prisoners’, ‘Arrival’). I’m not a big fan of Ryan Gosling, either. Don’t even get me started on Jared Leto. I wasn't too eager to skip dinner in order to spend two hours and 45 minutes with any of these people in a cinema.

So, imagine my surprise when I actually found myself enjoying ‘Blade Runner 2049’ quite a lot.

Denis Villeneuve’s film (produced by Ridley Scott) is set 35 years after the influential original. We are introduced to a new "blade runner", Officer K (Ryan Gosling, ‘Drive’, ‘The Nice Guys’), an advanced Replicant whose job is to hunt down the older Tyrell Corporation “skinjobs”. In the process of “retiring” a protein farmer, Sapper (Dave Bautista, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’), K discovers a box buried beneath a dead tree that could change the course of humanity. The discovery leads him to Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford, ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’), a former blade runner who disappeared 35 years ago.

The action is set in a sci-fi dystopia. Instead of focusing on the technology that led to that mess – a backstory seeps in, involving famine and a catastrophic data-destroying blackout – the film takes an issue planted in the original movie and makes it the central, resonant mystery of the sequel. What makes us human? Our memories? Our ability to feel and create new life?

SWITCH: 'BLADE RUNNER 2049' TRAILER 2

K wants to discover if his own memories are implanted or real. His holographic A.I. girlfriend, Joi (Ana de Armas, ‘Knock, Knock’, ‘Hands of Stone’), longs for more freedom, even superimposing her image over a prostitute, Mariette (Mackenzie Davis), in order to touch her lover. Deckard is trapped (and later tortured) by the past. The Replicants want to be regarded as equal to humans, and not merely a slave workforce.

Villeneuve juggles these themes and big dollops of action with precision, all the while gracefully dropping in information from the screenplay. It’s worth noting that neo-noir detective films are a big touchstone for writers Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, with K’s sleuth taking regular beatings in true gumshoe fashion and nods are given to Robert Towne’s ‘Chinatown’ and ‘The Two Jakes’.

The sequel can’t escape the fact that the strength and lasting influence of Ridley Scott’s original film was its look: the midnight-blue light that played like a scrim over a rainy, neon-bright Los Angeles resembling Tokyo; the golden-yellow interiors that created a haunting aura for a jaundiced world. ‘Strange Days’, ‘Gattaca’, ‘Dark City’, ‘A.I. Artificial Intelligence’, the recent ‘Ghost in the Shell’ and a lot of Japanese cyberpunk anime released in the late 80s and early-to-mid 90s owe ‘Blade Runner’ a massive debt.

The sequel borrows the golden-yellow palette for some scenes. Giant cityscapes hum, throb and teem with the outlandish: streets blitzed by neon, strafed by drizzle, monstered by those holographic geishas and ballerinas. It is beautiful stuff. But, surprisingly, cinematographer Roger Deakins and production designer Dennis Gassner also create a grim, ashy-grey world. Villeneuve shot a great deal on sets and locations in Hungary. The film may not be heavy with computer-generated imagery, but it looks as though it is. That’s not a bad way to depict a future blighted by poverty, hunger and power shortages, although the design is never as engaging as the gloriously rich original.

Giant cityscapes hum, throb and teem with the outlandish: streets blitzed by neon, strafed by drizzle, monstered by those holographic geishas and ballerinas. It is beautiful stuff.

While the men of this movie - Ryan Gosling's K (serviceable), Dave Bautista’s Sapper (impressive), and a returning Harrison Ford's Rick Deckard (great) – are the central focus, the film’s women are sensational. Robin Wright as the police chief is glassy and brittle but with a core of steel. Primary baddie Luv (Sylvia Hoeks), a female android, weeps without emotion as she cracks skulls and slashes bodies. Ana de Armas is beautiful and vulnerable in the complex, interesting role of Joi.

’Blade Runner 2049’ makes very few actual missteps... but they do exist.

Jared Leto, wearing milky contacts as blind genius and corporate tycoon Niander Wallace, fails to elevate his villain to anything higher than “cartoonish supervillain” level. Maybe his public profile is too big or his bag of acting tricks too small, but Leto can’t seem to disappear into roles anymore - the stench of ham is overpowering whenever he is onscreen. To add insult to injury, the role was earmarked by Villeneuve for the late David Bowie, a way more talented ham than Leto will ever be.

Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch’s music is occasionally a little obtrusive. They aren’t Vangelis, or even frequent Villeneuve collaborator Jóhann Jóhannsson (who had worked on ‘Prisoners’, ‘Sicario’ and ‘Arrival’), but their score is generally rock-solid.

Yes, the film is arse-numbingly long. But I barely noticed because the film spends so much time building an absorbing, complex and well-realised futuristic world. Also, I had a comfortable seat and a few beers.

The legacy of ‘Blade Runner’ is long, and getting longer - ’Blade Runner 2049’ isn’t a film I thought needed to exist, but it does now and I’m very glad for it.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 05/10/2017
RUN TIME: 2h 43m
CAST: Harrison Ford
Ryan Gosling
Robin Wright
Ana De Armas
Sylvia Hoeks
Carla Juri
Mackenzie Davis
Barkhad Abdi
Dave Bautista
David Dastmalchian
DIRECTOR: Denis Villeneuve
WRITERS: Hampton Fancher
Michael Green
PRODUCERS: Broderick Johnson
Andrew A. Kosove
Ridley Scott
Cynthia Sikes
Bud Yorkin
SCORE: Hans Zimmer And Benjamin Wallfisch
www.bladerunnermovie.com
BladeRunnerMovie
bladerunner
Want more? Listen to our discussion of 'Blade Runner 2049' on SWITCHCast 
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Agatha Christie’s Marple: Series 1-3 - The classic crime novels come to life
TRENDINGWIN AGATHA CHRISTIE’S MARPLE: SERIES 1-3The classic crime novels come to life
The Personal History of David Copperfield - Charles Dickens' classic reimagined through a comedic lens
TRENDINGWIN THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELDCharles Dickens' classic reimagined through a comedic lens
Romantic Road - Falling in love with India, the Rolls Royce and each other
TRENDINGROMANTIC ROADFalling in love with India, the Rolls Royce and each other
Good Girls: Season 2 - It's never been so good to be bad
TRENDINGWIN GOOD GIRLS: SEASON 2It's never been so good to be bad
xXx: Return Of Xander Cage - The good, the bad and the ugly
TRENDINGxXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGEThe good, the bad and the ugly
Over the Limit - A real-life psychological thriller
TRENDINGOVER THE LIMITA real-life psychological thriller
In My Blood It Runs - An eye-opening tale of struggling Indigenous youth
TRENDINGIN MY BLOOD IT RUNSAn eye-opening tale of struggling Indigenous youth
God of the Piano - A tale that tickles the ivories
TRENDINGGOD OF THE PIANOA tale that tickles the ivories
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
About A Boy - All grown up 15 years on
TRENDINGABOUT A BOYAll grown up 15 years on
The Big Trip - Should have stayed at home
TRENDINGTHE BIG TRIPShould have stayed at home
Inseparable Bros - A heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
TRENDINGINSEPARABLE BROSA heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
Double Lover - Softcore pornography for cinephiles
TRENDINGDOUBLE LOVERSoftcore pornography for cinephiles
Top End Wedding - Outback fantastic
TRENDINGTOP END WEDDINGOutback fantastic
River's Edge - The kids aren't alright
TRENDINGRIVER'S EDGEThe kids aren't alright
Wet Woman in the Wind - A sexy struggle for conquest
TRENDINGWET WOMAN IN THE WINDA sexy struggle for conquest
Melbourne Documentary Film Festival 2020 - The reviews
TRENDINGMELBOURNE DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL 2020The reviews
Waterloo - An epic recreation of the legendary battle
TRENDINGWATERLOOAn epic recreation of the legendary battle
Standing Up For Sunny - A comedy without the comedy but very sweet
TRENDINGSTANDING UP FOR SUNNYA comedy without the comedy but very sweet
Beyond The River - An inspirational sporting journey
TRENDINGBEYOND THE RIVERAn inspirational sporting journey
© 2011 - 2020 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us