Review by Dash Wilson.
Blade Runner, released nearly forty years ago, is widely regarded as one of the best science fiction films of all time. Whilst initially receiving a mixed reception from critics and public alike, it has gone on to became a cult classic that was a defining moment in Harrison Ford’s career. Starring Ryan Gosling as K, a replicant working for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), who hunts and kills other rogue replicants, Blade Runner 2049 is the sequel to the 1980s classic.
Directed by Frenchman Dennis Villeneuve (Sicario, Arrival) and shot by thirteen-time Oscar nominee Roger Deakins CBE BSC ASC (Shawshank Redemption, No Country for Old Men), Blade Runner 2049 was intelligently filmed in Budapest, Hungary. Teaming with Production Designer Dennis Gassner (Into the Woods, Road to Perdition), Blade Runner 2049 is a breathtaking-visual experience with a deeply satisfying narrative that will likely go on to become a cult classic of its own. By using Deakin’s signature ring lighting and large scale, incredible set pieces, the filmmakers have created a unique and stunning alternate world that should be experienced on the big screen.
Clearly a passion project of Villeneuve (who has admitted to being a huge fan of the original), many believe the film is overlong – particularly at a running time of 169 minutes. There is also a very valid case of style over substance and that may be one of the contributing factors to its poor box-office. Ultimately though, Deakins thoroughly deserves to win the Oscar for his body of work (especially for his collaborations with the Coen Brothers) and I would be extremely surprised if he didn’t, finally, win here. Blade Runner 2049 is a visual smorgasbord where nearly every shot is awe-inspiringly beautiful or strikingly effective and honestly it doesn’t even compare with any other project released this year.
Reviewing all five films nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography in 2018, Dash Wilson is a film-lover based in Brisbane and is the resident Film Critic for Australian Cinematographer Magazine.