As I sat in the movie theatre at 9 pm, I realised I am one of the 8 people that decided to see this movie on a Wednesday night. The ambience of the theatre felt like my living room except with a cinema sound experience, I will never forget. And here I am sitting in the back row, waiting in anticipation.
The movie starts, the theatre the quietest I have ever heard- how peaceful it is on a Wednesday night. The music is loud and orchestral synths fill the room, complimenting the futuristic ambience of a post-industrial Los Angeles setting. The story begins…
First of all, Blade Runner isn’t your usual action sci-fi film with metallic guns shooting, random humour and occasional misogyny. It is also a sequel film that doesn’t necessarily require you to have watched its 1982 predecessor: Blade Runner, starring Harrison Ford. My first impression of this film was that the narrative itself moved slowly, it wasn’t the classic sci-fi or action film that I was expecting. It questioned really abstract but heavy issues that are reciprocated throughout the films camera work and style.
We are met with Agent K (Ryan Gosling) who is hunting down Replicants (clones of humans, that are treated more like biological computer software slaves rather than being recognised as their own entity), in which he encounters Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista), an older Replicant model; who managed to escape his slavery after the mysterious “Black Out” that happened 30 years ago. We are then met with Agent K finding a clue underneath the tree of Sapper Morton’s yard, and this unearthing begins to propel the story.
Agent K gets a new mission: to find where the clues lead to and destroy all evidence; due to the impending threat of an all-out war between replicants and humans. While we follow K on his hunt to stop war breaking out, we experience the life of a replicant throughout the movie. We feel the exile, loneliness and depressing existence that comes with being a replicant. This bleeds into the setting and cultural context of the film; almost all plants and animals are dead, crime is high, and the dystopian society is corporately ruled by service provider Wallace Industries (creator of AI Joi and all Replicants on earth).
This two-hour film explores K’s conscience and the consequences of his actions after discovering where the clues lead him. However, not before raising the suspicions of Neander Wallace (Jared Leto), the owner of Wallace Industries, who eventually figures out that K has found the very piece of the puzzle he needed. Neander sends Luv (Sylvia Hoeks), a psychopathic and loyal to-the-bone replicant, to kill K and recover all evidence he had found. Harrison Ford makes his debut as Rick Deckard in the second half of the film and from there the story starts to take a darker tone. The moment their characters meet acts as a catalyst for the action, causing the narrative to rapidly move forward. Forcing us to question what makes someone human, a morbid moral conflict starts to manifest within the characters themselves.
It’s a neo-noir genre of film. Don’t know what that is? It is a film style with dark shadows, moving light and awkward angles to give a feeling of tension, paranoia, and hopelessness. All of which are feelings that are deeply embedded in the storyline of Agent K and others. The cinematography in this film, however, is beautiful! Its beauty is found within the seamless transfer between distant scenic shots, to up close, personal takes; thank you Roger Deakin (director of photography).
Kudos to Denis Villeneuve (director of ‘Sicario’ and ‘Arrival’) for doing such an amazing job with this film! When I heard he was directing this, I kind of got butterflies in my stomach knowing that 2049 was in very capable, delicate hands. His direction with this film was spot on in capturing the dystopian and desperate society of Blade Runner. In my opinion, he did a brilliant job of weaving the same motifs of humanity and dystopia throughout the film.
Also, Hans Zimmer who created the score for this film didn’t fail in creating a musical score that was so cumbersome and loud, I almost needed sound-blocking headphones. The music was one of the very first things that I noticed about the film. Orchestral synths and drums push the audience to the edge. It amplifies the kind of paranoia and unsettling feeling that is embedded within Blade Runner 2049.
Should you watch it?
The film itself is an acquired taste as the genre and the style is not for everyone. It is also two-hours long with the storyline itself starting off slow. However, if you are one to try new experiences then definitely give this movie a chance! If you fully immerse yourself in the film while watching you will find that once you leave that movie theatre, you are questioning the very fabric that makes us human – which is always fun!