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Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner: 2049

(Denis Villeneuve)

2049 loves to take long slow pauses here and there for people to orgasm over the gorgeous palette of colours that cinematographer Roger Deakens has ejaculated onto the screen. A man who has been nominated for Best Cinematography a dozen times and losing each time. is playing in the realm of science fiction here. This gives him a bit more creative freedom with colours, such as the neon glows of a rainy city or the rusty dust of a toxic wasteland. Who better to help him with those images than Villeneuve, a director on a hot streak. Villeneuve's love of slow burner pacing is put to effect here, building the mystery at the film's core and helping the viewer engulf themselves in the visuals to transport them to this world they've created.

K is a Blade Runner, tracking down out-dated Replicants that can outlive their programmed life as well as ones that have gone rogue. While on a mission, he discovers some bones in a chest buried under a tree. This person was a Replicant, this person also gave birth to a child. This news will shatter the world giving hope to a Replicant uprising and cause a war. K must track down the Replicant child and destroy any evidence. Things get difficult when K's own memories interfere with the mission.

Here is another sci/fi sequel decades after the release of the first films that stars an older, crankier Harrison Ford. This time around, he's given a bit more of an emotional arc for his character and despite his limited screen time, delivers a good performance. Alongside Ford is Gosling, he's the Blade Runner this time around. He's able to carry the weight of the film, displaying emotions on his face when he desperately tries to hide it. A key element in his character flaws that make him seem more human despite the reality. The stand out performance in the film belongs to Ana de Armas. She plays Joi, an A.I. that desperately seeks any chance to feel more human, more so than any replicant does. There is one trippy sequence in which she (now try to follow me here) mimics the moves of another person, while integrated with them, so that Gosling can have a physical sexual experience with a person that looks like Joi. What we get is a weird threesome with two people.

Sequences like the one above would end up on the cutting room floor of another director wanting to make the film more action packed and leaner. While I appreciate the artistic choices of Villeneuve, I can also see the other side of the equation. Blade Runner: 2049 is too long. At 2 hours and 45 minutes, there are plenty scenes that could be trimmed down or cut out to make the film move along at a quicker pace. Trimming down Robin Wright's scenes is a good place to start as her performance was stiff and unconvincing. Jared Leto waxing poetic might be another. The action sequence we do get are surprisingly boring. Villeneuve can build tension, dread and suspense, but he needs to learn how to shoot a fight sequence, or better yet, stage an action scene. 2049 fumbles the ball a bit in these moments.

Who knows if I'll ever watch this movie again, the world presented to me was gorgeous and I would love to visit it again, but the running time is a turnoff and the lack of mystery on a second viewing doesn't help much either. 2049 is one of, if not the best looking film of 2017 and I hope to see some people rewarded for that.