A Worthy Sequel to a Cult Classic

Photo courtesy of: Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art

Daylon Bonner, Staff Writer

Blade Runner Desert
A film still from the new film “Blade Runner 2049.”

“Blade Runner 2049” is directed by Denis Villeneuve and stars Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford. The film is a sequel to the original 1982 film, “Blade Runner.” The original film previously mentioned did not garner much praise during its initial run. However, over the following decades, and the release of multiple different cuts, “Blade Runner” has grown into a cult classic.

The director, Denis Villeneuve, has been building up clout as one of the best working directors with films such as “Enemy,” “Prisoners” and “Sicario.”

A cult classic movie getting a sequel directed by a critically-acclaimed director made the hype surrounding this film insane. Luckily, for those in any way intrigued by the movie, the hype is well-earned. “Blade Runner 2049” is a solid film and arguably, one of the best of the year.

The camera work alone in the film is probably enough to recommend it. “Blade Runner 2049” is a gorgeous film. The cinematography is helmed by Roger A. Deakins. His notable works include “The Big Lebowski,” “No Country for Old Men,” “Skyfall” and “Arrival.”

Speaking candidly, a plethora of the shots that he can get are simply unfair. The camera is setup in a way that allows the world of the film to be photographed in necessary detail.

Many of the shots are wide and expansive with barely any unnecessary camera movements. Specifically, much of film takes place at night or in darkly-lit rooms.

In a standard blockbuster film, the faces of the characters will still be well-illuminated even though the atmosphere within the film’s lighting would clearly prohibit this.

The use of shadows in this film is astounding. If Deakins does not win some type of notable award for cinematography, it would come as a surprise.

Ryan Gosling gives a standout performance as a replicant police officer. Regarding his personality, Gosling’s character is a blend of the driver from “Drive” and the portrayal of James Bond by Daniel Craig. Gosling’s performance relies more on his facial expressions and actions whereas the dialogue plays a background. The execution is nailed.

The acting itself was solid and consistent with all the actors. Robin Wright as the Lieutenant, Sylvia Hoeks as a Replicant and Ana de Armas as an Artificial Intelligence love interest all gave stellar performances.

The film’s reception will probably be divisive among viewers. The film is a film noir with a solid mystery. The film does not flow the same as most big-budget movies, and that may lead to some dissenting opinions. While the number of dissenters will likely remain small, most audience members will think the film is satisfactory, but not great. “Blade Runner 2049” is a slow-burn mystery at its core. As a result, some scenes will can appear drawn out. Furthermore, the film is almost three hours and uses a fair amount of visual storytelling as opposed to copious amounts of dialogue.

As stated before, the film is at its core a mystery, and Denis Villeneuve is trusting his audience to pay attention and wait for the overall theme to come to fruition.

The best way to experience the film is to know as little beforehand as possible. The trailers for the film were vague enough as to not mention major plot points, but well-crafted enough to arouse interest.

Watching the first “Blade Runner” film is not a prerequisite to enjoying the “Blade Runner 2049.” stands on its own as a film while acknowledging that the first film did happen.

Overall, this is a well-crafted film dripping with stunning visuals. “Blade Runner 2049” gets a nine out of ten. The film is now showing in theaters nationwide.