Blade Runner 2049 Isn't Just a Movie. It's 'High Art'

Critics are raving about this 'original' sequel
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2017 8:01 AM CDT

(Newser) – Set 30 years after the original Blade Runner, Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049 finds LAPD cop and blade runner K (Ryan Gosling) on a meandering path that eventually leads to Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who's long been in hiding—and hiding a secret. What critics are saying about this detective story (note: one mild spoiler):

  • "In a world filled with cinema replicants—sturdy, shiny, carefully engineered jobs that almost duplicate the look and warmth of a real movie—Blade Runner 2049 is that rarest of sequels: An original," writes Stephen Whitty at the Newark Star-Ledger. It has "visual, and aural, wonders," a "relentless" pace, and a score that "keeps you on edge throughout," he writes. A word of caution: Ford is a late arrival, so you'll have a long wait until he shows up—though "it's terrific when he does."
  • Soren Andersen agrees. Blade Runner 2049 is "deeply imagined" and the rare sequel that is at least the equal of its iconic original," he writes at the Seattle Times. The performances show "restraint," allowing the characters to "keep the audience guessing," including at the answer to the film's "essential question": "What makes us human?"

  • Villeneuve "may have fallen a little too in love with his own creation; at two hours and 40 minutes, aesthetic shock and awe eventually outpace the narrative," Leah Greenblatt writes at Entertainment Weekly. "But how could he not, when nearly every impeccably composed shot … feels like such a ravishing visual feast?" she adds. She dubs the film "the elevation of mainstream moviemaking to high art."
  • The praise only continues from Joe Morgenstern, who refers to Blade Runner 2049 as "a classic renewed with soulful beauty." The film is "longer than it should be and short on clarity." But "Villeneuve's direction enlivens Blade Runner 2049 with verve and heart," he writes at the Wall Street Journal. The acting is great, too. "We can't take our eyes off" Gosling. "Ford, for his part, is nothing less than a revelation."
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