REVIEW: Blade Runner 2049 is a visually stunning and emotionally powerful triumph

Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford in Blade Runner 2049
Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford in Blade Runner 2049

Matt Adcock reviews Blade Runner 2049, starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford

It's the sequel to one of the most iconic and groundbreaking sci-fi films of all time. It’s incredible near future neo-noir stuff, heartbreaking and thrilling in equal measure. Denis Villeneuve, the director, has packed it with retina-burningly cool scenes and a stunning storyline that adds pathos to the events that follow on from thirty years before.

This is the tale of a new Blade Runner on the block, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling). K’s job is to hunt down surviving dangerous old model replicants (robots who look and act human) and when off duty he lives with his virtual girlfriend Joi (Ana de Armas). After has a run in with a rogue replicant K unearths a long-buried secret that he is intimately connected to and could plunge what's left of society into chaos.

Wanted by villainous tycoon Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) and hunted by the seemingly unstoppable replicant enforcer Luv (Sylvia Hoeks), K must find the original Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who has been missing for 30 years and who might hold the key to the mystery.

Blade Runner 2049 is everything that fans of the original could want in a sequel. Gosling is superb in the lead role and he’s ably backed up by the rest of the cast including Ford who delivers his best performance for many years.

The cinematography is eye popping too, taking the incredible dystopian near future visuals of the first film and expanding them. The gadgets, vehicles and even the iconic skyscraper-sized adverts all add to the feel that the action takes place in very much the same Blade Runner universe.

At almost three hours this is a veritable feast for sci-fi lovers but despite the bum-numbing length it doesn’t drag. The storyline is poignant and moving, raising big questions about what it means to be human and what the value of life (even virtual life) is.

Blade Runner 2049 is an instant classic and possible film of the year. Make it your mission to hunt it down but be sure to have watched the original first.