Originally published 15th October 2017
It took me a few watches to really *get* why people love Blade Runner. At first I thought it was a bit long and too dark, but after a few watches I understood why people loved it so much. It really is the predecessor of so many sci-fi movies and TV. From obvious links with films like Ex Machina and Westworld, to the visual cues / futuristic influences seen in the Matrix, the Fifth Element, Looper, Minority Report and even Firefly. Its also a bit mad that the original film is set in 2019. Two years away people.
So the new film is set in 2049 (obviously!) and we get a screen filled with (quite small) text bringing us up to date. Quite a lot to read, but sci-fi fans are used to this.
It’s hard to review without giving spoilers as it get’s going into the plot right away but at the same time is very slowly paced. The essential premise is we follow K (Ryan Gosling) a Blade Runner tracking down old models of replicants, and a replicant himself. He stumbles across something that results in him needing to track down Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford).
Other than that I don’t to give away plot. The tone is dark, moody in a dystopian future where it snows in LA, many people live and work off planet. It is very dark visually too, I saw it in 2D as I hate 3D as it makes things even darker (and gives me a headache). The score was intense and fitted the movie perfectly, I adore Hans Zimmer and at times the deep vibrating tones lined up with intense moments were just perfection.
I need to talk about the criticism that has been raised about the way women are treated in the film. K has a projected companion Joi who adapts to his whims – it does seem a little mysoginistic but I think part of the sadness about it is that as a replicant he is not permitted companionship when he sorely wants it. Him being attached to a non-existant woman sort of reminded me of Her and other similar futuristic films. I personally didnt see it as exploitative. Although there is a moment where she merges with a prostitute so he can have sex with her. That was a bit weird. And Mackenzie Smith was criminally underused as the sex worker (LOVE her in Halt & Catch Fire).
Robin Wright and Sylvia Hoeks both play very powerful women in this films – as K’s boss (or Madame) and Lov, a replicant working for Wallace acting as a sort of ‘odd job’ character. Their characters were not as fleshed out as K but he was the main focus of the film, although not all of his character is as it would seem. Also is Robin Wright not the most stunning woman! I think I’m developing a girl crush on her.
So overall I really enjoyed the film. Ryan Gosling is great and possibly one of the best performances of his career. But is completely upstaged by Harrison Ford who is back on form! I didnt quite get the creepy Wallace character of Jared Leto – I felt like he was being made creepy and offensive for the sake of it rather than any plot device.
My only real criticism was the length of the film – it could have been trimmed down about 15-20 minutes. I was desperate for the toilet by the end of it and although the long lingering shots on the cityscape were very beautiful they didn’t drive the plot in any way.
Overall I really enjoyed it. It was beautiful, score was amazing and I enjoyed the storyline. The use of the female characters didn’t offend me and I would greatly recommend it – as long as you liked the original.
Dont’ read if you havent see it yet!
So what I was alluding to above is the replicant that K is searching and then believes is himself turns out to be a female. This character throughout is held up to be some sort of messiah / figurehead for the future of humanity so it could be argued that although we do not know the gender of the child for most of the film the most important character of the film is a woman. And facets of the ‘personality’ of K are derived from her memories.
Also how KICK ASS is Dave Bautista. I could watch him kick butt all day