There is a melancholy brilliance to, “Blade Runner 2049,” that had me thinking and talking for days about it’s visual proficiency and rich emotional content pondering the soul of a human and the potential soul of a replicant (robot). In this movie anything is possible.
It’s also an alarming look into the future where everyone and anything pure has been compromised by technology. Rather than making things better, it’s a twisted world of pollution, over-selling, clunky firepower, and endless confusion over who is or isn’t a replicant. There are moments in “Blade Runner 2049” that seem genuinely infused with hallucinogens.
Ryan Gosling is just about perfect as the advanced replicant who goes by the letter K rather than a name. He is on a detective style mission that has the potential to end badly while being reminded by his superior (Robin Wright) that if he fails he can easily be decommissioned. There is a sense of sadness to Gosling’s character that digs deeper than most films.
K (Gosling) also lives with a virtual girlfriend that shows more empathy than most the humans on screen. Their relationship and lifestyle are fascinating. It’s an oddly original mix of “Westworld” meets “The Shining” meets “Pinocchio” offering the audience characters you desperately care about while a nasty paranoid world swirls around them.
Then there’s Decker, the original “Blade Runner” played by Harrison Ford, who tussles with Gosling in an abandoned surreal Vegas nightclub where legendary virtual performers light up the stage for a disgruntled audience of two. I still can’t get over watching that sequence and hoping it might have a shot on stage at The Oscars in Feb. 2018. It’s a masterpiece of cinematic choreography.
Director Denis Villeneuve has created a science fiction stunner that not only lives up to the 1982 original but in many ways enlightens and enhances what Ridley Scott started. It’s a seamless slow burn of a movie that celebrates patience and intellect rather than massive doses of popcorn style entertainment.
“Blade Runner 2049” continues to burn in my brain more than most movies. I need to see it again, and possibly again, knowing full well I’ll still be asking the same question about Harrison Fords’ character I asked back in 1982.
Is he or isn’t he?
- Gary Cogill