Personally, I love the original Blade Runner. It is such a different, provocative and mature sci-fi film - one of the best of all-time - and one I was very apprehensive about seeing a sequel to. However, director Denis Villeneuve's attachment to the project made me excited - he is undoubtedly one of the best working today - and, as time progressed, my anticipation gradually kept increasing until I went into Blade Runner 2049 with very high expectations. But this film didn't merely surpass them. Oh, no. It smashed them. And then it spat on me for ever doubting the idea of a Blade Runner sequel in the first place. 2049 is arrogant; it's the kind of film that knows how good it is and it will shake you and beat you just because it can - just because it is so damn good and has the power to do so. But deservedly so. Blade Runner 2049 is perhaps the best sequel ever. It's perhaps the best sci-fi film ever. It is definitely one of the best films of this decade. Blade Runner 2049 is so great that it's unfair. As an aspiring filmmaker myself, this is the kind of film that fuels my inspiration and my dream. This is as good as cinema gets. Blade Runner 2049 is just that fantastic.
The film follows Ryan Gosling as a Blade Runner, in the year 2049, that, through a string of events, finds himself reaching out to a former officer for help on a case: Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford). That's about as basic a summation of the premise as you can get, and it's really all you need to know going in because Blade Runner 2049 is full of surprises. This is a film that is brimming with loads of great nuance and depth behind the story and one that will constantly keep you on your toes and keep you guessing. It's very refreshing to see a film hiding its hand from its audience and, similarly to the original, 2049 is intelligent and complex; this is a film that forces its audience to think about everything and pay close attention to every little detail. It's so layered with depth and nuance and there's plenty to be uncovered from beneath its surface. The writing is sublime and this story twists and turns with such razor-sharp precision.
Dialogue is sparse but equally as punchy when it's there - each word stings and sears, so rich with meaning and metaphorical weight.There is little dialogue yet enough to superbly realise every character in the mix. There is an authenticity to them all - Gosling's Joe, especially - that keeps us riveted and rooting for them. The performances are just as incredible, with everyone perfectly cast in their role. Everyone from Ana De Armas to Dave Bautista and even a chillingly resonant Jared Leto bring their A-game; Harrison Ford is on top form, returning as Deckard, in his most emotionally charged performance to date - a worn down, broken, lost soul in need of saving. However, this is Gosling's show and the actor is astounding; the emotion feels raw and his expressions tell us everything we need to know that dialogue cannot and it is truly subliminal.
However, as great as the plethora of performances are, Blade Runner 2049 belongs to Denis Villeneuve and Roger Deakins. Villeneuve has crafted a film so elegant and staggering; clocking in it at just under 3-hours, it is an epic and it lives up to that in every sense of the word. There is complexity and maturity permeating every frame. Similarly to Villeneuve's last film, Arrival, 2049 is bold and different. It has a story to tell and it comes in and it tells it with such aplomb. This is a blockbuster and a spectacle, as grandiose as they come, but it has indie sensibilities about it in that it takes its time to tell it's story and it is so rich with subtext and such meticulous craft. Villeneuve is a master behind the camera and continues to prove himself as one of the greatest filmmakers ever - he is yet to make anything short of brilliant. And he re-teams with his regular cinematographer Roger Deakins yet again for the aesthetic of the film and, honestly, if Deakins does not win an Oscar for his work here then there is seriously something wrong. Blade Runner 2049 is pulpy, neon-soaked eye-candy. It is gorgeous. From the saturated landscapes, dripping with orange and purple and blue, to the silver smog skylines, 2049 is as visually arresting a film as they come. It uses such a vibrant colour palette, mixing cool autumnal hues with punchy vibrant splashes to create a style and look that is genuinely jaw-dropping and wholly impressive and enrapturing. This FEELS and looks like the world Ridley Scott created back in 1982 whilst never feeling like a rehash and always feeling unique and entirely like its own thing.
Honestly, it's hard to put Blade Runner 2049 into words that feel like they do it justice. One thing is for sure: see this on the biggest, loudest screen you can. I saw it in IMAX 3D and it was one of the most immersive cinematic experiences ever. This is one of the greatest sci-fi films ever made. Once again, 2017 has given us another film that has left me dumbfounded and in a position where no words can truly describe how cosmic and astonishing this film really is. Denis Villeneuve has created something genuinely special here. This is a mature, provocative film that will make you think and it will make your jaw-drop (on multiple occasions) and will leave you in awe. It's emotional, thrilling, confusing and hallucinogenic - all in the best of ways. Blade Runner 2049 is a staggering cinematic achievement. It is a fucking masterpiece. And yes, this is that rare sequel that surpasses its original. And that's quite the accomplishment, given that its predecessor is one of the best films of all-time.
Blade Runner 2049 is a sci-fi masterpiece. It feels like an epic and it is, in every sense of the word, just that: epic. It's a staggering triumph and as good as cinema gets.
About the Author
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.