Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Robin Wright, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Dave Bautista, David Dastmalchian, Edward James Olmos, Jared Leto, Mackenzie Davis, Lennie James, Barkhad Abdi, Sean Young, Loren Peta.
The dystopian feel of our lives is always there, humming in the back ground, playing that sad song of regret whilst understanding it is our own folly that has bought us to such junctures in time. It is a genre of writing that has existed perfectly well and in many ways is arguably more suited to our own thoughts of humanity’s future than the clean, sanitised and off kilter imagination of many science-fiction films; for even they soon revert to the realisation that not all is good where humanity treads, even in space.
Dystopia also has a way of creeping into our minds when thinking of the past, the bleakness we have come through, two brutal World Wars in the last 100 years, sickness, absolute poverty and depravity, the gleaming towers of a once promised future, now a smouldering mess in which in which many cities around the world are prone to be the signposts of the almost quick decay awaiting us. It is decay that Ridley Scott first showed audiences in Blade Runner and which is continued superbly cinematically by Denis Villeneuve in Blade Runner 2049.
The film is long, arguably required to get everything in but still leaves the audience in need of remembering where they have been all night as they get lost in an America which has the scope to become inequitably realistic. The length alone will not suit all, it will put some off just by the sheer fact they will not be able to concentrate for that length of time, and it is time which the director and cast have put unashamedly too good use.
Ryan Gosling’s replicant hunter K is a nice touch when it comes to parodying the past in which America still is reaping its disgrace from, the battle over slavery of any kind is one that has been repeated since the civil war and will probably continue to do so. The choice of what is actually freedom, the point of choosing how you determine your own future, is strewn throughout and comes to an early head in the confrontation between K and David Bautista’s Sapper.
Slavery of any kind is to be abhorred but the film asks the pertinent questions in a way that the dystopian menace becomes blurred; Mr. Cotton’s child labour, the depiction of women in the film, even that of Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard is strangled by his own vision of what it was to be free.
A film that has been long awaited, that thankfully manages to capture everything that made its successor so brilliant, so poignant; Runner Blade 2049 is a visual and aural masterpiece.
Ian D. Hall