Blade Runner 2049
4 Palm Trees out of 4
by Manuel Reynoso
Blade Runner 2049 is a 2017 neo-noir sci-fi drama directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green. A sequel to the 1982 film Blade Runner, the film stars Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford and follows K as he learns of a replicant that has given birth, and attempts to find more answers.
As I’ve reviewed more and more films, I’ve grown to be far more conservative with my rating system. A film has to really wow me like no other if I’m going to give it a 4/4. I’m not just expecting excellence in its production, but it has to tell a story that pulls me in and keeps me engaged from start to finish
Now you see, Blade Runner 2049 pulled me in. I mean really pulled me in and somehow managed to hold on tight for a remarkable 2 hours and 45 minutes. Even more amazing to me, is that the vast majority of the film revolves around superbly written dialogue, with little reliance on action. The action is great, don’t get me wrong, but the dialogue is just so dense with world building, character development, and conflict. Every character has their own motivations, goals, and personality that while may clash, come together to create this living breathing world. While this is usually enough for me to hold a film in high regard, blade runner also has this neo-noir aesthetic that is gorgeously designed.
When a film finds its aesthetic and knows precisely how to build on it, that’s when you go from having a setting, to a whole world. With a ridiculous budget of at least $150 million, I haven’t seen a world this painstakingly crafted outside the likes of Star Wars and other mega budget films. But blade runner has this dark, almost dystopian edge to it that just really appeals to me without it veering off to ludicrous levels of angst and despair.
While the set design and production value of the film laid the groundwork for such a strong aesthetic. Roger deakin’s cinematography work and Hans Zimmer’s music is what places the final touches on the films stellar production. Dealing wasn’t shy to play with angles and light in unconventional ways. Zimmer’s score is also phenomenal and worth a listen independently of the movie.
However, as per usual, dialogue is what’s king to me, and the screenplay by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green is nothing short of phenomenal. The close personal relationship between K and Joi or the contention between K and others was mesmerizing. While some may find the film too long, I found every minute as tantalizing as the last. On top of the great dialogue, the acting was what carried it to the heights it achieved. Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford in particular were the strongest performances of the film, but I also feel the need to emphasis how surprised I was by the range Bautista showed in the film.
Two hours and forty minutes is a definite commitment to make, but a film of this caliber really deserves the attention. Seeing it in theaters really feels like the only option when Blade Runner 2049 boasts such a strong aesthetic and excellent sound design. Maybe neo-noir crime dramas just do something for me in particular, but I loved this film, and recommend all who can make it go watch it as well. Rated R 2h 43M