“Blade Runner 2049” is directed by Denis Villeneuve and stars Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Jared Leto, and Sylvia Hoeks. The film is a sequel to the 1982 original and is about a young blade runner who finds some secrets involving his past that could majorly influence the future.
This is one of the most anticipated movies of the year for me, as not only is this a sequel to one of the most influential sci-fi films ever made, but it is being done by one of the greatest directors in the business, Villeneuve (“Sicario,” “Arrival”). Even further, the combo of Gosling and Ford got me hyped, and this quickly became a film that I was dying to see.
Roger Deakins is a god. Deakins is arguably the greatest cinematographer to ever do it, and this is truly one of his most stunning films to date. This is a piece of art from start to finish, as every single frame of this movie is beautifully lit, excellently framed, and creates such a feel or a piece of emotion that only Deakins could do. I couldn’t help but smile on numerous occasions at the masterful work Deakins put on display here, as there are so many shots that will forever be drilled into my head.
Not to be outdone, the score by the legend Hans Zimmer, as well as Benjamin Wallfisch, is absolutely jaw-dropping. The music often sets the scene with a lot of massive booming bass that legitimately shakes the theater, and it was handled brilliantly by Zimmer and Wallfisch. Even when it’s not the center of attention, the music is always lively and always sets the tone, and I was floored by the incredible music from start to finish.
As phenomenal as this movie is on a visual and audio standpoint, the storyline here is arguably even better. The way that Denis Villeneuve masterfully builds multiple layers with its characters and with its plot allows for a lot of development that really pays off later on. Villeneuve makes each level of the story complex but also spends enough time to explain the twists and turns so that each scene is as equally satisfying as the next.
Ryan Gosling gives one of the best performances of his career here, as he carries a lot of this movie on his own, and he brings a nuance to his role that is absolutely fantastic. Gosling brings way more to this character than I had expected, and regardless of how subtle or how powerful the role becomes, Gosling absolutely nails it, and his chemistry with Harrison Ford is something special.
Speaking of Ford, he is equally terrific and brings an outstanding element to the storyline once he is brought in. The veteran presence and nostalgia factor that Ford brings really makes a world of difference, and hearing him and Gosling go back and forth makes for some truly riveting dialogue and one that answers a load of questions about each of the characters.
I knew coming in that both of those two would impress, but I did not expect loving Ana de Armas as much as I did. Her role is not what I presumed, so I won’t spoil it here, but I will just say that her character is brilliantly crafted and works with Gosling perfectly. Another surprise was Sylvia Hoeks, who is a total force every time she is on screen. Hoeks manages to dominate numerous scenes, even when alongside Ford or Gosling, and she is the antagonist that I never knew I needed, but ended up totally stealing the show.
I have touched on the genius of Villeneuve already, but I cannot overstate how perfectly this film is directed. At 163 minutes, this could easily have been bloated, overly long, or boring, but Villeneuve is able to use patience, tension, and excellent world building to perfectly spread the runtime out, and I was completely sucked in from start to finish. The way Villeneuve uses dialogue and creates the story here is simply a work of art, and he brings the best out of every single person who worked on this film.
As science fiction movies go, the effects on display here are absolutely top notch. The CGI mixed in with Deakins unbeatable cinematography is seamless, and the world from the 1982 film is perfectly updated without a single noticeable flaw. What’s more impressive to me, though, is just how much emotion and how many touching themes are put into a movie that could have easily been a simple sci-fi action sequel. Sure, the original “Blade Runner” is full of these complex themes, but I think Villeneuve brings a significant amount of emotion, especially towards the end, and he somehow managed to build on an already miraculous foundation, and go even deeper into what it means to be human.
“Blade Runner 2049” is a masterpiece from front to back. Visually, it’s up with “Dunkirk” for two of the most gorgeous films I have ever seen. The performances from every member, even Jared Leto, of the cast are superb. The direction from Villeneuve is masterful, as he somehow continues to get better, even when he is already at the very top of the list. The story is poignant, the action is brilliantly shot and wonderfully choreographed, and the score shook me to my core, and continually set the tone perfectly. Simply put, “Blade Runner 2049” improves on an already terrific original, and could just be one of the best science fiction films ever created.
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