Friday, October 6, 2017

Blade Runner 2049 - Review

Reviving sequels decades after the last film has been a recent trend in Hollywood, to various degrees of success of course. In this instance, the original film is a classic work of sci-fi believed by many to be a masterpiece so whoever were to take over the reins had a tall task. But if anyone were to take Blade Runner 2049 to new heights, it’s the rising director Denis Villeneuve. And what he puts together is nothing short of spectacular.

Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a new blade runner for the Los Angeles Police Department, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. His discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former blade runner who's been missing for 30 years.

A worry when a sequel to a beloved film comes around is that’ll it’ll rely too much on callbacks or winks to fans. Thankfully, that is not the case with Blade Runner 2049. There is no franchise set-up, just a contained story in this world created back in 1982. The film takes aim at similar themes and questions that the first does, though with a little more action this time around. And while it’s easy to see the cold exterior of this very grim world as representative of the whole tone, Blade Runner 2049 has a surprising amount of heart and emotion at its core.

Most of the emotion comes from one specific performance and character; Ryan Gosling as Officer K. Gosling has all the right stoic demeanor you’d expect, but to see it fade as the character learns more and more about the case at hand and its secrets is really enthralling. Harrison Ford also delivers one his best performances in a long time. Though not relied on or leaned on too much, much to the film’s credit, Ford portrays the sense of trauma that must have befallen Deckard all those years ago really well.

Where one truly finds the mastery of filmmaking however is in the more technical aspects of the process. First of all, and with no doubt in mind here, hand Roger Deakins the statue now. There is no need to hear a list of nominees for Best Cinematography because this is it. The man is long overdue and the work and the shots he turns in here may just be his best ever. Shooting this world, this very lived in world, is no easy task but Deakins knocks it out of the park. Of course, the direction from Denis Villeneuve certainly didn’t hurt either. Villeneuve continually impresses with his level of control and a keen sense of what makes films something truly unique. The director creates an epic the likes of which don’t come around too often, particularly this well done either.

Overall, Blade Runner 2049 is a masterpiece from top to bottom. The performances are all top notch, the story is deep and philosophical, and the talent in the director’s chair may just be the best working today. Deakins delivers some gorgeous, awe inspiring cinematography work and the score from Hans Zimmer only elevates the visuals further. Blade Runner 2049 is the rare sequel that surpasses its predecessor and reminds us all of what film should aspire to be.

So what did you think of Blade Runner 2049? Have you seen it? Are you interested in seeing it? How does it stack up to the original? Subscribe, share, comment below, and as always return to I Am Sam for weekly reviews and insight.

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