Magic. Pure cinematic magnificence. For the second time in as many weeks, director Denis Villeneuve took me along a science-fiction existential viewing comatose crisis. Blade Runner 2049 not only lives up to the majestic larger-than-life atmosphere of Ridley Scott’s 1982 original Blade Runner; this latest delve into the realm of Replicants ups the ante in terms of compelling story telling and subtle undertones.
Taking place 30 years following the original trails of Rick Deckard, the post-blackout chaotic squalls of society are in fear of the elder version of the Replicants. It is the job of LAPD officer K, played by Ryan Gosling, to track down the deemed-dangerous personas.
Blade Runner 2049 doesn’t waste time setting up any meaningless word-building exposition. The opening text that flashes is just enough to thrust the audience into the mire. As the viewer, your only chance for more understanding is committing your time to admiring the journey that’s about to unfold.
While tracking down an old Replicant to “retire,” Officer K inadvertently digs up a world-shattering secret that has the prospective to knock humanity off its already teetering edge.
So begins the cat and mouse game of the insanely large conglomerate under the rule of a monologue-loving dictator (played to the utmost degree by Jared Leto) using Officer K without his knowing to try and shift the power in society. The all-to-human Replicant law enforcer is just obeying the orders of his superior Lieutenant Joshi, played by Robin Wright, until he is confronted with a “memory” that subjects his “soulless” base to multiple scenarios and hypothetical situations.
There are a couple scenes and tidbits in Blade Runner 2049 that stick out above the rest. I’m just going to rattle them off here. In case anyone is worried about spoilers, this may be a part to avoid.
- “You’ve never seen a miracle”
- This line is constantly referenced throughout the entire movie…and I love how when it’s first said, it’s just a passing thought. Sapper Mortan, played by Dave Batista, simply says this line with a self-understanding that doesn’t even register on K’s radar. It’s just very cool to see how the officer’s understanding of that line parallels with his self and worldly discovery.
- “To be born is to have a soul”
- What a profound line. Coming from K when asked why killing someone who is born is different from killing something that is made, Joshi simply states how he has survived without a soul.
- As the movie gathered steamed, I went back to this line and thought: Can someone appreciate a miracle if they don’t have a soul?
- The wooden horse…AKA the Trojan horse.
- This memory implanted in to K is a backdoor path the he follows without knowing the massive ramifications at its end. It acts as a land mine trap to society’s understandings regarding Replicants. K is the Trojan horse that was brought forth into the urban decay with joy and comfort while containing dangerous knowledge and profundity inside him.
- “You can’t hold the tide with a broom”
- I am going to steal this quote. Plain and simple. Expect it in a broadcast shortly.
- The confident delivery of this line by Sylvia Hoeks as Luv, Wallace’s go-to assistant, is eerie as F. The coldness is terrifying, and her follow-up statement of how she is going to kill the Lieutenant is phenomenal. This scene illustrated the murderous length that the Wallace Corporation is able to go.
- “A life of freedom as long as its behind glass”
- The fact that Dr. Ana Stelline, played by Carla Juri, is playing with birthday cakes upon K’s entrance is perfect.
- We see K show his first emotional outburst when he shares his memory to the doctor. He doesn’t get the answers he wants, and we see visible violent frustration for the first time.
- And just how deep is that line? I mean come on: the “glass” can be the veil of ignorance that all living in 2049 are happy to live behind. Much like how the society likes to live without knowing where the Nexus-9 Replicants are.
- Three UNBELIEVABLE still shots
- These two shots are proof that only Villeneuve and cinematographer Roger Deakins could have made Blade Runner 2049 as visually appetizing at it is.
- Not shown here is a simple medium shot standing behind K’s back while he is staring into straight blackness. It takes place at the orphanage while he is trying to acquire and wrap his head around the impossibly large scope of the tar pit he caught himself in.
- I love how Rick Deckard is hiding in a casino
- He is still living in the shadow of “the house,” aka the people running the Replicant production (Wallace in 2049)
- K arrives at the Casino looking for answers, trying to beat the house, trying to cash it all in with Deckard and learn all the answers…but in the end of that scene…its again “the house” that comes on top and beats down those who try and tear it down.
One last random tid bit, Gosling was the perfect cast as K. Can’t help but think he took some inspiration and traits from his experience portraying the unknown stoic character in Drive (2011).
Also credit to Den of the Geek for this fact that completely skipped past me upon viewing (SPOILER WARNING): “It is implied that K may very well die from his wounds, as the “Tears in Rain” theme from Vangelis’ Blade Runner score begins to play in the background. This is the same music that accompanied Roy Batty’s final moments, as his time finally ran out.”
The whole Blade Runner 2049 is immersive, deep, and a must-watch for any science fiction lover. Set aside three hours, adjust your eyes to adoration and just sink in.
STANKO RATING: A-
What did you think of Blade Runner 2049? Share your comments and thoughts below!