Sensational production design and beautiful cinematography are just some of the reasons why Blade Runner 2049 exceeds expectations.
The Los Angeles Police Department’s best employee appears to be officer K (Ryan Gosling). He’s a member of a specialized unit whose purpose is to hunt down and retire replicants. Lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright) sends K on a routine mission that ends up being anything but that. He stumbles upon a mystery that could rock the foundation of society itself. Business mogul Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) is alerted to K’s current predicament and begins seeking to solve the same mystery. K eventually heads to the most desolate part of the southwest where he finds former blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford).
Director Denis Villeneuve demonstrates once again why he’s one of the best directors working today. He’s a master of creating tension in the simplest of ways. In Sicario, that final scene where Alejandro shows up at Rafael’s home for a meal was such a simple setup, but the tension was off the charts. The same is true about the scenes where officer K is having a drink. Once again, such a simple setup that’s incredibly relatable but each time led to something significant occurring.
Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer’s score is intoxicating. It evokes memories of the original movie, yet it appears to have another layer of depth to it. Could it be the deeper synthesizer sounds?
Dennis Gassner’s production design was sleek, eye-popping, and the kind of work that wins Academy Awards. The way he seamlessly mixed in dark and dreary colors and splashed them with fluorescent lighting that illuminated this industrial complex in such a way that it looked like something out of a Chris Nolan film. When we traveled to the most desolate parts of the new world, he used different shades of red which gave that location a unique feel. This part of the film had a gritty/dirty feel as if secrets were buried out there. One can only imagine how the actors felt coming to work in such imaginative locales.
Renee April’s costume choices gave us more insight into these rich characters. Leto’s character wore a Japanese coat which was an interesting choice. Typically that type of attire would belong to someone who’s more at peace, and his character appears to be far from that.
Roger Deakins is a virtuoso once again as his cinematography plays a critical role in the overall success of the movie. Loved his decision to shoot from behind officer K as he walked ever so slowly into the most desolate part of the city. Not only does it give the viewer K’s perspective, but it creates tension in the scene as well (especially when we don’t what he’s walking into).
Hampton Fancher and Micheal Green have developed a storyline that’s far from ambiguous but still dives into some pretty deep themes. Without getting too much into the details of the film, this plot will have your head spinning long after the credits have ended.
The performances were solid. Can’t say that one actor outshined them all, but each of them played key roles in enhancing this new world that Villeneuve and Ridley Scott created.
What Didn’t Work
While the writing for about two-thirds of the film is outstanding, the last third of the movie was extremely predictable. Can’t say much more than that but I do welcome any debate on the matter once the film opens up on Thursday night.
Blade Runner 2049 is almost a three-hour movie, and it didn’t feel anywhere close to that. The pacing is fantastic, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t touch on the eye-popping action sequences. Watching this film was like witnessing a master composer strike the right notes again and again with the result being a cinephile’s dream. They say good things come to those who wait and boy were they ever right in this instance.