- Directed by Denis Villeneuve
- Starring Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford
- Written by Hampton Francher, Michael Green
- Science Fiction
- Rated R
- 2hr 44min
- 6 October 2017
A sequel to the 1982 classic, Blade Runner 4049 follows a modern day Blade Runner, police officers who hunt down the old model Replicants, artificial humans created for service to humans, as he discovers a shocking event in the past that could change the human-replicant world forever.
How’s the Story?
The story was really good. There was so much going on that the nearly 3 hour movie didn’t feel that long at all. I’m a big fan of this type of ‘beings created to be slaves finding humanity in spite of not being actually human’ science fiction, and this was honestly just a really well-developed story from beginning to end. I loved the way it kind of had this step-by-step mystery vibe alongside the Science Fiction, because I’m a huge fan of mystery!
How’s the Acting?
The acting in this is phenomenal! I’m not usually a big Ryan Gosling fan. I liked The Nice Guys. That’s about it. However, he’s great here. K’s journey was so brilliantly done, and he conveyed so much without too very much dialogue. That’s probably the best part of this movie. A lot of the acting is acting, not just ‘the writing drives the actors performances’. All I can say is that this is definitely Gosling’s best performance, though coming from me, that isn’t saying too much.
Another one worth mentioning is Sylvia Hoeks’s performance as Luv. Her character was just so good and I really think her performance as this sort of abuse-victim-assistant replicant was just so well done and very believable. Of all the characters in this movie, she’s the one that I most ‘believed’, so to speak, and I really think it was down to the acting.
How’s the Writing/Directing?
This movie was written just as well as it was directed, and usually with the best movies, that’s the case. There was so much in this movie that wasn’t told through dialogue and yet the dialogue that happened was all very subtle and there more to lead you than to tell you what’s going on. It takes a good writer to tell so much of a story with such a complex narrative in the span of a single film, and it takes an amazing director to take that script and turn it into a really good movie.
What I got here was the feeling of Shutter Island meets Arrival. Not in content, but in the feel of it. The slow, methodical, step-by-step investigation that unfolds new information at every step feeling that I love so much in Shutter Island is the way this feels. It doesn’t feel drawn out, it doesn’t feel unnecessary, everything feels the way reading a good mystery novel feels: things unfold in just the right order to leave you surprised by what is revealed but without a jarring shock. It’s just a satisfying narrative structure and this film was so satisfying. And the Arrival connection is obvious, because of the director, but the feeling that something so big is happening but we’re watching it through such a personal, narrow scope is present in both films. I love the way that we know and are reminded that this is such a monumental discovery that K has uncovered, but the whole time, it’s very focused on how personal it is to him and what it means for his journey towards discovering his own humanity.
As much as I liked Blade Runner, this sequel is one of the rare times that I honestly don’t even care what it’s a sequel to, it’s just an incredibly written and directed film that’s very, very good.
How’s the Cinematography?
I almost feel like I don’t even need to talk about this part, because we all know how the cinematography is. It’s the biggest thing talked about in the press about this movie. The DP is Roger Deakins, who is a master of his craft known for upwards of 70 films. Pretty much if you’ve been watching movies over the last four decades, you’ve seen a Roger Deakins film.
But to be fair to those who may not have read much into this film before stumbling across this review, this film has some of the most incredibly done cinematography all year. The big, bleak landscapes, the detailed interior shots, the color palates, the unexpected camera angles, all of it is in this movie and all of it is wonderful. The entire look of the Las Vegas portion of the film had me in awe.
Is It Worth Watching?
This movie probably isn’t for all audiences, simply because this is a movie I feel is more enjoyable to us who are ‘into’ film. My 16 year old brother went with me, since it’s SciFi and he loves that genre, and his entire reaction as the credits rolled was, and I quote, “…. what?” He hadn’t really followed anything going on. I barely remember Blade Runner so I didn’t think he would have any trouble following along with it since I followed it very well, given the only backstory you need is flashed on the screen at the opening, but he didn’t understand the point of anything that happened. I don’t think he disliked the movie, but he mostly just didn’t get why we sat through three hours of movie for that story.
That said, I absolutely recommend this movie to the type of people who really love cinema. I didn’t love this movie as a straightforward story, simply because it was nothing I haven’t seen told before, but the way this works as a film is incredible. The elements of film-making are done so well and crafted together in such a way that I’m sure this one will go on the syllabi of my former professors in all my film studies classes in college. The look of it, the feel of it, the quality of the film-making, all of these things just blew me away. I won’t say it’s in any way my favorite movie of the year, because I tend to go more by ‘stories that I love’ for those things, but as far as ‘practices in film-making’ goes, yeah, this one is top 5 for sure.
My Rating: 8/10