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Blade Runner 2049

A sci-fi film directed by Denis Villeneuve with Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, and Ana de Armas.


Denis Villeneuve made a slide asking not to reveal anything about the plot of his film before press screenings in order to give audience members the same experience as us press folks. So nothing will be said about the plot. First, a look at Ridley Scott‘s BLADE RUNNER.

It isn‘t so clear which film is meant, because BLADE RUNNER exists in so many different versions. The cinema version from 1982 hit a nerve at the time. As young cinema freaks we grew up on a diet of noir novels, film noir, and neo-film noir, and where STAR WARS played with sword-fights, BLADE RUNNER had melancholy pseudo-detective Deckard who was actually a ruthless kiler in a hi-tech, dirty world that was otherwise similar to the world of Dashiel Hammet, Raymond Chandler, Cornell Woolrich, and Ross McDonald. There was a melancholy, cynical voice-over that echoed the sound of Philipp Marlowe. There was a femme fatale with an eccentric hairstyle, set and production design inspired by different sources that feels as fresh now as it did 35 years ago, a soundtrack filled with 40s jazz and electronic pop from Greek popstar Vangelis that sounded like the film: something you had never seen before, but always knew. BLADE RUNNER ran close to kitsch cliffs and sometimes risked falling off of them, like in the scene where Rutger Hauer lets a white dove fly. The complex narrative structure of the film always withstood these over the top moments by seeming to question their obvious meaning, and so the film had less narrative cohesion than the inclusion of noir traditions would lead you to believe.

Where Ridley Scott‘s vision of the future mostly mirrored a specific past, the 40s, and only portrayed urbanity, Denis Villeneuve shows a future that is emptier and broader. Villeneuve has always been a master of living, breathing landscapes, and BLADE RUNNER 2049 is filled with different apocalypticlandscapes that are breath-taking. Villeneuve‘s cities and interiors are akin to Scott‘s inspirations, but orient themselves more on brutalism and the utopian elegance of the 60s and 70s, with very specific shifts. The more exclusive the room is, the more water and wood there is in the decor. Biomass has become the most valuable material. In a world full of perfect artificiality, the living have become a commodity of extraordinary value. Nature becomes a symbol of a perfect circulation of goods. The warmer the colors, the colder the air. It all looks incredibly good and is smart to boot.

Villeneuve isn‘t interested in the question of human identity. The subjectivity of modernity is over. We already know that we are all cobbled together and torn apart, that individuality is nothing more than a helpful illusion. The sentimental idea that feelings have something to say about our humanity, which played an important role in Scott‘s film, is not a factor here. It doesn‘t really matter who is a replicant or not. We are all replicants anyway. Humanity is shown in actions, and especially in the ability to produce illusions on your own, make mistakes, fool others, and maintain their comforting illusions. It seems moral to help others, as constructed as it may be. Whether that will save the world is a different question.

Villeneuve cast the most emotionless star of contemporary cinema, Ryan Gosling, as the new Blade Runner: someone whose humanity is never quite believable and who was shaped by the Disney corporation as a child. Gosling is a perfect fit for his role,in a film that keeps floating towards catastrophe and includes so many artificial souls that you could keep watching forever. The Blade Runner sequel couldn‘t be more successful. The female characters are also less unbearable than in Scott‘s film. Hans Zimmers soundtrack has some jazz notes, but mostly lets the dark synth drones vibrate. Everything is good, it‘s a must-watch. Warner Bros also uploaded three official short films that show the time between the old and new BLADE RUNNER.


Translation: Elinor Lewy


Kanada/USA/Großbritannien 2017, 163 min
Genre: Science Fiction
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Author: Michael Green, Hampton Fancher
DOP: Roger Deakins
Montage: Joe Walker
Music: Jóhann Jóhannsson
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Cast: Robin Wright Penn, Ryan Gosling, Jared Leto, Harrison Ford, Dave Bautista, Mackenzie Davis
FSK: 12
Release: 05.10.2017



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