Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, 2017) 3½ out of 4 stars.
Blade Runner 2049 is a hybrid sci-fi, film noir, police thriller, bounty –hunter pic married to a stupendous visual style that includes an eclectic collaborative effort in art direction, David Gassner’s production design, visual effects, and the incomparable camera of DP (Director of Photography) Roger Deakins (the original DP, Jordan Cronenweth, passed away in 1996).
The story takes place exactly 30 years after the first in a Los Angeles choking on its own technology including huge holograms of alluring Asian super-models. The gifted and visionary Canadian director, Dennis Villeneuve (Arrival) does not reinvent the world of the original but delves into the more metaphysical and existential aspects of android and human relationships. It is reassuring to know that scribe Hampton Fancher (co-author of the original screen play) is back, this time with Michael Green (Alien: Covenant). The soundtrack throbs with eerie sounds, echoes, and Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer’s synthesizer based music, that has many overtones of the original Vangelis score
Once again resurfacing, like a detective re-opening a cold case, after 30 years, is Rick Deckard, played by the iconic Harrison Ford. He is the original blade runner-read replicant hunter, but in this iteration he is overshadowed by a newer hire of the LAPD called K (Ryan Gosling).K’s superior is Lt. Joshi (Robin Wright) who orders him to take on a mission that might “break the world”. It is with this and other aspects of the complicated narrative that I have been ordered by the producers to cease and desist. Nevertheless, I feel it my duty to reveal that the once powerful Tyrell Corporation now emerging from bankruptcy under the CEO Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) leads the story into a fascinating direction. Also I must comment on the wonderful performance of Ana de Armas, the electric love of K’s life.
With a running time of 2 hours and 44 minutes the pacing will test the patience a bit, but it is worth every penny of its $150 million dollar budget. The small Hollywood company Alcon (Federal Express’s Fred Smith) bet the house (profits of 2009’s The Blind Side) on this one. Without doubt one of the best films of 2017. See it in 3-D or IMAX!