Blade Runner 2049 has reinvigorated my love for movies (and Denis Villeneuve). For 2 hours 44 minutes, I was in another world, completely unaware of my surroundings and worries. Visually, acoustically and emotionally at the mercy of the director. Comforted, despite the sombre tone, by the sensual splendour.
This is no ordinary blockbuster. Passion oozes out of its every aperture – it’s more concerned with being faithful to the original than accessible to the audience. Upon rewatching, I’ve come to realise how grateful I am that this exists. It’s the antithesis of modern big-budget cinema: Slow pacing, no obvious set up for a sequel and requiring the original to be seen to fully understand the plot subtleties. It was doomed to fail at the box office but was destined to live on in our hearts.
I have to admit, the first time I watched this, I hadn’t seen the original. I didn’t fully understand the plot and had since forgotten most of the key details. Experiencing this again after watching Ridley Scott’s final cut, was a completely different experience. The twists and turns of the story had me invested throughout, kicking me in the gut with each revelation. No characters felt wasted, each with a part to play in Villeneuve’s grand scheme. This also made every death pack that extra punch, raising the stakes of individual actions. Carrying on from where the original left off, 2049 explores what it means to be human.
I was quite simply in awe from start to finish. Vibrant neon lights and echoing synths, combined with pacing that takes its time to let the viewer indulge themselves in the world makes for one of the best atmospheric experiences that I’ve witnessed. Deakins’ cinematography is on another level here, completely deserving of his oscar and rightly cementing him as one of the best cinematographers of our time. I genuinely gasped at how breathtakingly beautiful some scenes were.
I cannot wait to experience this again. If anyone can adapt Dune, it’s Denis Villeneuve.