Denis Villeneuve likes challenges. Over the past fifteen years, even before tackling Dune, the French-Canadian filmmaker had become one of the most impressive directors working within the Hollywood studio system.
Collaborating with renowned filmmakers like Roger Deakins, Bradford Young and Greig Fraser, Villeneuve has delivered some of the most mind-boggling, narratively ambitious and surprisingly whimsical blockbusters of the past 15 years.
With its last release, Dune, Villeneuve ventured to adapt (half of) one of the most renowned but notoriously dense sci-fi stories of all time. By many indications, he succeeded. Corn Dune This is not the first time that Villeneuve has dared to offer a new take on an iconic sci-fi property.
Indeed, 2017 Blade Runner 2049 served as a kind of conceptual essay for his work on Dune, following on the hugely influential and revered 1982 original by Ridley Scott with a full-scale sequel. A 164-minute slow-burning sci-fi noir sleuth, Blade Runner 2049 was (perhaps unsurprisingly) commercially unsuccessful in theaters. But his fan base only grew in the years that followed.
Blade Runner 2049 is now streaming on HBO Max. Here’s why we recommend you research it as soon as possible – perhaps after watching Villeneuve’s final space odyssey.
Throughout his astonishing execution, Blade Runner 2049 follows K (Ryan Gosling), a detective investigating the death of a pregnant woman on the outskirts of dystopian, walled-up Los Angeles. Villeneuve’s story seldom strays from K, devoting his execution time to exploring the character’s beliefs and desires, all of which are gradually but surely cast into disarray as he learns more over the course of the course. of his investigation.
As K, a replicant of the right side of the law, Gosling is appropriately restrained and vulnerable – a closed loner who has long given up on his dream of being, as one character in the film puts it, “a real boy.” When we meet K, he literally sleeps behind the wheel. But as Blade Runner 2049 unfolds, K’s desire for his emotions and experiences to be validated as “real” is palpable. In this sense it is 2049‘s Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) – whether Batty’s fanatical efforts to come to terms with his existence were replaced by deep existential uncertainty.
K has a relationship with Joi (a scene-stealing Ana de Armas), his holographic companion. Is the love between them real, or just the result of her being programmed to give him what he wants? To that end, are K’s memories really his, or just implants placed in him at the time of his creation? K is led to ask these questions, thematically linking the sequel to the original.
In truth Blade runner fashion, 2049 doesn’t give K easy answers or the validation he’s looking for. Instead, the film puts him face-to-face with characters like Sylvia Hoeks’ memorably vicious Luv, a replicant who prides himself on being “the best” of her kind, as well as an older Rick Deckard (a Harrison gruff but fascinating Ford), who has long since given up asking the questions that plague K. Each character’s attitude contributes to further questioning K.’s belief system.
Of course we can’t talk about it Blade Runner 2049 not to mention Roger Deakins. One of Villeneuve’s frequent collaborators, Deakins brings visual art to Blade runner 2049, fill the frames with unforgettable images.
With an impressive budget and sets designed to suit his majestic shooting style, Deakins is the MVP of Blade Runner 2049 – and the film ended up earning him his long-awaited debut Oscar for Best Cinematography. Turn Blade Runner 2049 literally anytime, and you’ll see why. It is the most breathtaking sci-fi film of the 2010s, if not the best Hollywood film of the 21st century to date.
In its most basic form, Blade Runner 2049 is a Philip Marlowe-style detective story disguised as an elegant cyberpunk thriller, with a narrative as curvy, ruminating, and brooding as this description suggests. But as in 2016 Arrival, it’s also a film that, over the course of its duration, slowly reveals itself as an emotional and upbeat story about the importance of connection.
In this way, Blade Runner 2049 answers questions asked by his predecessor in not answer them. He chooses to embrace the ambiguity and in doing so reveals the poetry hidden in the haze of uncertainty of this dark sci-fi world. It’s about as alluring and haunting as a sci-fi movie can get.
Blade Runner 2049 is available to stream now on HBO Max.