Blade Runner 2049

Sci-Fi,Thriller

Review: A genuine movie event that just smashes it Discuss this article

2017_bladerunner2049
© ITP Images
 
  • Picture 1 of 2

It’s still raining in Los Angeles and those same dark synth sounds swirl in Blade Runner 2049, a colossal piece of retro-futuristic gorgeousness that follows on 30 years after the events of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Sometimes it’s a dazzle of neon street life; elsewhere it’s an existential thumbsucker that Russia’s Andrei Tarkovsky would have been proud of. Always, it’s in thrall to the stylishly downbeat vision Scott hatched in 1982. It’s the thinking-person’s sci-fi event of the year.

Scott’s landmark was a ’40s noir-ish mystery and this sequel follows suit. Much like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it’s a reboot cloned from beloved DNA, with similar action beats and a dramatic skeleton that’s meant to be a bridge for fans.

A stubbly Ryan Gosling plays “K”, a trenchcoated hunter of wayward “replicants”. The actor’s performance is fascinatingly physical as he struggles with existential dilemmas up against Robin Wright’s police boss and Jared Leto acting up an evil storm behind cloudy contact lenses.

All of this is sensational, not least an interlude in a radioactive Las Vegas, filled with the Elvis-and-Marilyn detritus of a long-vanished culture. And it’s no spoiler to say that when we do re-meet the grizzled blade runner of yore, Harrison Ford, he reminds us that these movies were always about the most human of inventions, love, even if it is of a variety manufactured by machines.

Director Denis Villeneuve brings an alien strangeness to the film’s intimate moments, infusing soulfulness into a story that could have felt hollow. He’s flirting with metaphysical ideas on a grand scale, and the result is a strange hybrid, worth cherishing. A unicorn in the fog.

The bottom line
A genuine movie event that just smashes it.

By Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

Blade Runner 2049

  • Duration: 163
  • Released: Thu, 05 Oct
  • Language: English
  • Director: Denis Villeneuve
  • Stars: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas

Add your review/feedback

Subscribe to weekender newsletter

Submit

Search

Explore by

Our favourite features