By Angie Raphael
French Canadian director Denis Villeneuve is one of the most exciting modern filmmakers and his unique style elevates this sequel of a beloved classic to a new level. Blade Runner 2049 is about two hours and 40 minutes long, which may bother some viewers, but Villeneuve's cinematography choices, working with director of photography Richard Deakins, are exceptional. Fans of the 1982 film will lap up the attention to detail in this sequel, which is set about 30 years after the events of the original. The story centres on Officer K (Ryan Gosling), who discovers a secret that leads him to search for former blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who has been missing for decades. Screenwriters Michael Green and Hampton Fancher further explore the philosophical notion of what it means to be human, and Blade Runner 2049 feels like a fresh piece of science fiction for anyone who may not have seen the first film.
By now, everyone knows Gosling as a master at playing the brooding leading man, and in this film he again successfully carries the responsibility of commanding the audience's attention. Ford looks appropriately haggard but there are times when he seems almost irrelevant to the story aside from the excitement of seeing Deckard again. Importantly, the women in the film are complex and fascinating. Ana de Armas gives a bittersweet performance as K's adored Joi, while Sylvia Hoeks is an excellent adversary, who is far more interesting than her boss Niander Wallace (Jared Leto). Robin Wright also has an intriguing role as K's supervisor Lieutenant Joshi, but we only get to scrape the surface of her personality and motivations. There is some nostalgic enjoyment to Blade Runner 2049 and fans of the original film will not be disappointed.