Is Blade Runner 2049 the perfect replicant?

Blade Runner 2049 is the sequel to Ridley Scott’s Classic neo-noir detective film that is hailed by many as one of the greatest science fiction films of all time. So, is this sequel, directed by Arrival’s Denis Villeneuve, any good or just a pale ‘Replicant’ of the 1982 classic?

The brilliant thing that Blade Runner 2049 did running up to its release was very simple (other films take note) they didn’t spoil anything in the trailers – we knew nothing except that it looked visually grand and that Harrison Ford would be returning as Deckard.

The story is set 30 years after the original in a world that is still filled with bioengineered humans called ‘replicants’. Most have now integrated into society, however, some rogue older models are being hunted down by ‘Blade Runners’, the LAPD’s special unit that ‘retire’ these potentially dangerous engineered humans.

Ryan Gosling plays K, a Blade Runner investigating a rogue replicant who runs a protein farm. After a body is found buried under a dead tree on the farm, a trail of intrigue and mystery leads our young protagonist on a journey that will change everything. I’ll stop there – no spoilers but let’s just say as things are slowly and more of the mystery unfolds Gosling’s Blade Runner uncovers a truth that could destroy the world as they know it.

Apart from this film looking simply divine, thanks to the beautiful cinematography from Roger Deakins. it was the film’s premise that totally blew me away. The evolution of the replicants place in society and the suspense detective story delivered by brilliant performances make this truly gripping and engrossing watch.

Ryan Goslings is simply tremendous, bringing depth and emotion to the screen. Don’t expect a Harrison Ford film as this is every bit Goslings movie, but when Ford is on screen he does bring his A-game delivering a great performance. The rest of the cast is yet another tour de force for this movie with Jared Leto as Niander Wallace bringing what I can only describe as a sublime performance that shows him to be one of his generations great character actors. Newcomer Ana de Armas is mesmerizing as love interest Joi. Dutch actress, Sylvia Hoeks, portrays Replicant Luv with just the right amount of intensity as Wallace right-hand woman.

Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch’s Score is intensely powerful helping to narrate the story as it goes from tribal drums to a haunting vibration of bass that rumbles through every scene like an animal pulling you through the vast dystopian world.

If you haven’t seen the original, never fear as this is a self-contained movie with its own storyline. However, fans of the 1982 original will easily be transported back into this world and may more easily absorbed this sometimes complicated tale with its clever twists and turns.

Denis Villeneuve is proving to be true movie-making master up there with the Spielberg and Nolan.

Blade Runner 2049 is an immersive masterpiece that may even surpass the original.

Reviewed by Ian Wright

5 stars small

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