Sunday, February 18, 2018

Movie with Abe: Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Released October 6, 2017

When the road to a dystopian future involves robots, it usually leads to them becoming self-aware enough to fight back against what they perceive to be their human oppressors. That battle or war is the critical event that transforms what might somewhat resemble modern society into something altogether darker and less recognizable, and it’s impossible to go back. Where the robots fit in once things have changed irreconcilably depends on how events played out, but circumstances are rarely good for survivors on either side.

K (Ryan Gosling) is a Blade Runner in 2049 Los Angeles, working for the police department to hunt down rogue replicants, while most of the bioengineered humans are kept as slaves. After a routine run leads to shocking proof replicants can have children, K is sent on a mission by Lt. Joshi (Robin Wright) that puts him on the trail of Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who has been in hiding for decades. Through his mission and his relationship with his holographic girlfriend Joi (Ana de Armas), K begins to question whether he is in fact a replicant as he believes or if there’s considerably more humanity inside him than he thought.

“Blade Runner 2049,” the sequel to the popular and formative science fiction film released thirty-five years earlier, is a long movie that clocks in at two hours and forty-four minutes. The story it tells has its own variations but is otherwise mostly familiar, and therefore the film’s quality should be judged mainly on its technical elements, which are all astounding. The astonishing visuals best illustrate the film’s creativity in its depiction of Joi and how she shows herself to K, who gives her the gift of an emanator, which enables her to travel outside their home and to truly experience the world.

“Blade Runner 2049” represents a positive addition to the impressive filmography of director Denis Villeneuve, who first showed up on American audiences’ radar with his Oscar-nominated Canadian drama “Incendies” and then made the diverse trio of “Prisoners,” “Enemy,” and “Sicario” before achieving resounding success with “Arrival.” His touch here is emphatic and purposeful, and the film is augmented as a result of the care he puts in to how the story is told and conveyed, with superb visual and audial elements. Gosling proves to be a fitting lead, with de Armas turning in an intriguing performance as well and Ford making his returning character a worthwhile featured player. This film’s lengthy runtime doesn’t feel cumbersome, and a potential repeat visit to this universe would surely be welcome and worthwhile.


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