The Harbinger Online

Best of 2017: Blade Runner 2049

2017 has been one of the best years for movies ever. We’ve seen masterclass films this year like “Dunkirk,” “Logan,” “Baby Driver,” and “Trainspotting 2.” However, “Blade Runner 2049” is not only my favorite film of the year, but it’s one of the best films I’ve ever seen. I’m talking top ten favorite films, not just some decent flick you’ll forget you saw in a year. “Blade Runner 2049” is masterful. Every aspect of this film flows together to make something you only see once or twice per decade. I’m grateful to be able to see it twice in a theatre, and review it now.

Ryan Gosling has proved himself recently to be a good actor, but I had my doubts before first viewing. He tends to play the same character, so if he wasn’t written so well in this movie, I’d say he was basically the same person in “Blade Runner 2049” as he was in Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive”.

Harrison Ford was particularly noteworthy in this film. He reprises his role as Officer Deckard, and we don’t see him until about halfway through, maybe longer than that. It’s a good thing, because he’s not the main character anymore, and the story brings him in when it needs to. I thought he was going to be old, tired Harrison Ford, but he was Deckard alright. He gives a much better performance in this movie than he did in “Star Wars episode VII: The Force Awakens.” My guess is he actually wanted to be in this movie.

Roger Deakins’ work with cinematography is excellent. Even if you don’t know him by name, you should know his work. (E.g. “The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Big Lebowski,” “No Country For Old Men,” “Skyfall,” “Sicario,” and “Fargo” Just to name a few, and all personally recommended.) “Blade Runner 2049” has some of the best camerawork I’ve ever seen. The lighting is flawless, and the editing isn’t rapid or ugly and makes the cinematography even easier on the eyes. Even if the lighting is digital (like one of the final scenes where Officer K is looking at a holographic advertisement and it is a radiant purple), it is as if you are actually there. It reminds me of my favorite director, Stanley Kubrick, who popularized the look of allowing the setting to light the movie. Best examples of that kind of cinematography are in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and “A Clockwork Orange.” Then in his 1976 film, “Barry Lyndon,” the entire movie was lit by the sun or by candlelight. However, the fact that “Blade Runner 2049” could pull off a look almost as realistic as a Kubrick film is unbelievable.

What really matters here is the story. I could go on and on about what a movie did right or wrong critically or technically, but the screenplay is the heart of any movie. It looks so simple at first, but naturally evolves into something so much more. Simply enough, it’s about finding self-worth. Gosling’s character Officer K is a replicant, but in 2049 the Wallace corporation has made a successful line of replicants that obey no matter what. Replicants are still hated and shunned by their society, because they’re not human, and a lack of trust still shows. There’s a great conversation between K and the head of his police department –played by Robin Wright)– and at the end she says “You’ve done fine without one.”
“Without one what?”
“A soul.”
She’s not trying to hurt him at all, but even K’s closest associates don’t think of him as someone with emotion or feeling, except other A.I. and/or replicants.

So this about this movie, but what I really need to say is just go watch it. It’s really important to support original and magnificent films like these. I know it’s long, but trust me, it goes by quickly. The writing and pacing are masterful, and you’re on the edge of your seat for the latter two-thirds of the film. If you haven’t seen the original “Blade Runner” from 1982, it is a classic. It’s probably Ridley Scott’s best movie. You can watch 2049 without seeing the original, but it will make the viewing significantly more special (watch the Final Cut of the movie, or the Director’s Cut if available).

Be that as it may, not seeing the original doesn’t mean you won’t witness the gorgeous camerawork, great acting, phenomenal directing and most importantly, the morality of what it means to exist as an individual. “Blade Runner 2049” informs us the world is becoming a more artificial and hateful place every day, but nothing can take away your own identity. No corporation or authority can tell you that you are without a soul or worth. This is why I love film.The purpose of art is to show us what gorgeousity still remains in the Earth. If we don’t see, or can’t understand how magnificent we can be, then there is no point. Life is just a series of dull, repetitive stages, that in the end mean nothing. All those moments lost in time, like tears in rain.

11 out of 10

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