Blade Runner 2049 review: a dazzling feast for the big screen


Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford in Blade Runner 2049.
Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford in Blade Runner 2049.

IT does not happen often, but sometimes a belated sequel is justified.

About 35 years after Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner faltered at the box office, left its limited audience and critics scratching their heads, but later reassessed, the world of replicants and their hunters is revisited.

Keeping in tune with the first stylistically and structurally, but expanding on the established lore, round two has LAPD blade runner K (Ryan Gosling), whose job is to retire bioengineered humans who have gone rogue, uncovering a long covered up mystery about a particular model.

His investigation puts him in danger but also leads him to former cop Deckard (Harrison Ford), who has been in hiding for 30 years.

The studio is asking viewers and reviewers to keep plot points off the internet, but the script is fairly straightforward.

While there is subtext to mull over – identity, memories, family – this is visual filmmaking at its best.

World building in film is often so fleeting, with just the basic details shown or explained for a bit of context before the action kicks off, but with director Denis Villeneuve in charge, we are left to marinade in this dystopian future.

With a rousing soundtrack and sound effects (some could argue overwhelming if the volume is turned up too high in cinemas), the experience is enveloping.

While Villeneuve’s restrained work is impressive, is it cinematographer Roger Deakins’ achievements that are masterful and hijack focus.

Every single frame is meticulously and beautifully realised, offering a dazzling visual feast that demands to be seen on the big screen.

If nothing else, Blade Runner 2049 could take the crown for the best film even with the sound off.

THE ESSENTIALS

Blade Runner 2049 (MA)

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas

Four and a half stars

Review by: Julian Wright

In cinemas now

 

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