Razor Sharp: Rashid Irani reviews Blade Runner 2049
Set 30 years after the events of the first film, the narrative conflates the science and detective fiction genres to deliver a work of staggering visual invention.Updated: Oct 11, 2017 17:00 IST
- Direction: Denis Villeneuve
- Actors: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford
- Rating: *****
The sceptics have been silenced. One of the rare sequels (The Godfather Part II is another) that do not sully the legacy of the original, Blade Runner 2049 honours and even amplifies the vision of its predecessor.
Taking over from Ridley Scott, who now serves as executive producer, incoming Quebecois director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) consolidates his reputation as a master filmmaker, one who merits comparison with the Russian auteur Andrei Tarkovsky.
Set 30 years after the events of the first film, the narrative conflates the science and detective fiction genres to deliver a work of staggering visual invention.
The viewer is transported to a dystopian future. A new-generation replicant cop (Gosling) uncovers a long-buried secret with the potential to impact the future of a space-age metropolis seething with danger and decay.
In order to counter renegade androids and salvage some semblance of humanity, the ‘blade runner’ must hunt down the former LAPD officer (Ford, reprising his iconic role from the 1982 adaptation of Philip K Dick’s novel) who went missing three decades ago.
Despite its excessive length – north of two-and-a-half hours – and metaphysical musings, this cerebral thriller is never dull.
Villeneuve’s rapturous style has been evident ever since Incendies back in 2010. Working with cinematographer Roger A Deakins (nominated for an Oscar on 13 occasions) and production designer Dennis Gassner, he conjures up retina-scorching images.
Besides Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, there are striking supporting turns from Robin Wright (the pragmatic police boss), Ana de Armas (the holographic love interest) and Sylvia Hoeks (the adversarial replicant).
Ruminating on the nature of what it means to be human in a soulless society rife with bio-engineered machines, Blade Runner 2049 is compulsory viewing for all those who care for meaningful cinema.
First Published: Oct 11, 2017 17:00 IST