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Review: Blade Runner 2049 – “Bold, restless and resolute“

As someone who likes to think they invented the #GayForGosling movement, I was sold on ‘Blade Runner 2049’ from the get go.

Throw in Denis Villeneuve, and at the very least, you’re going to have a gorgeous looking, fascinating failure. Deakins as well? You start to have heart palpations just thinking about it.

Then the early reviews trickled in… and it turned out they’d managed to do something wholly unexpected. They’d managed to top the original..

I couldn’t wait to find out for myself, so ventured in.

I want to flag that I think 2017 has been a brilliant year. My top three jostle between four hours of Jesuit priests, talking foreign languages. To one of the most unflinching portrayals of war, ever. To what’s in danger of becoming the most missed film of the year – that stars Mark Wahlberg of all people.

It’s been… eclectic. But I’ve seen some films that I know I’ll adore forever. And that’s all I really hope for at the start of the year. The fact I got three, maybe even four/five, is fantastic..

There’s no doubt in my mind, that ‘Blade Runner 2049’ will be up there jostling.

I’ve been disappointed, too. Unnecessarily on a few major occasions (is that it, ‘It’?!). But none of that matters now. All it’s had me thinking is I grew up at just the right time. Imagine my disdain in a world where the original wasn’t loved from Day 1. That thought even makes me cringe.

From the retro effects on the company logos (another consistently outstanding feature of 2017, for me. Even “lesser” films like ‘American Assassin’ have made an effort). All the way through to the fact there’s no title cards, no credits, no pandering. We’re straight in. After a few glorious moments you know you’re not going to be treated like an idiot for 160 minutes.

This is truly adult fare. The random guy from Hawaii who started chatting pre-film, fell asleep within 15 minutes. His mate next to him got shouted down for going on his phone. The guy on the left doing the shouting couldn’t seem to comprehend what he was watching.

This is going to be divisive film making. It has to be. It’s not really like anything we’ve ever seen before for this kind of release. Bold, restless and resolute.

It doesn’t pander to normal Hollywood rules.

Want strong, interesting female characters? Here, have three. Four.

There’s no buildings destroyed in a CGI cluster-fuck of an ending. The action scenes are brief, and brutal. And you’re reminded that ‘Sicario’s tension wasn’t a flash in the pan. Or that the cerebral approach to ‘Arrival’ was in fact just standard fare for Denis.

The music is aggressive, and stirring. Deliberately uncomfortable and unobtrusive at times. The messages are clear, and relevant. The spinner chases the adverts have teased are over in seconds. This isn’t an action film. It’s pure sci-fi. Set in 2049, but very much relevant for the here and now.

This is a mystery of a film. Beguiling, and intriguing. Asking you to piece the puzzle together. To spot things in the corner of the screen, or look beyond what’s in front of you.

And just when you might have it – it yanks the rug. Not in a showy Hollywood way. It does it as if you’re reading a great book. A page turner you can’t put down.

It will demand re-watches from the most patient of viewers.

And finally, post-‘Half Nelson’ and ‘Blue Valentine’, the haters will have to drop their placards. Baby Goose can not only act, he can hold, and lead, the most important of films.

I’m full of love for the future for all involved. Harrison Ford even made me forgive his ridiculous grandad running from ‘Force Awakens’. And that’s not something I ever thought I’d say.


Go see. But don’t fall asleep. And stay off your phones, FFS.

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