Blade Runner 2049 paints a very grim, rainy picture of the near future — filled with extremely lifelike AI companions, flying cars, product advertisements that quite literally invade your personal space, and a race of hyper-repressed robots programmed for complete obedience, called replicants.

Ryan Gosling plays Officer K, one such replicant. His job is to hunt down and “retire” other members of his own kind (blade runners) by any means necessary. The movie opens with Officer K paying a visit to a blade runner when he discovers something truly interesting, attracting the attention of several entities and putting him right in the middle of a violent, sprawling power struggle.

Gosling, as always, is the highlight here, though the movie is filled with other good performances by Harrison Ford, Robin Wright and, surprisingly, Jared Leto.

The Good:

  • Gosling’s Officer K. Even as an emotionally devoid robot, this guy acts circles around the competition.
  • Gorgeous set pieces throughout! The imagery will make an impression that won’t soon fade from memory.
  • Philosophical symbolism and themes are worth exploring and ruminating on.
  • The last few scenes really hit home.

The Bad:

  • About 30 minutes too long; feels like a slog at times.
  • The script could be tighter (see above).

Blade Runner 2049 is certainly a good movie. It’s a little long and very dark, but in the end the journey is worth it. I can’t emphasize enough how visually arresting and entertaining each scene is. Your eyes are treated to one carefully crafted set piece after another, each more interesting than the one that came before it. And if you want to dig a little deeper you might be asking yourself what exactly it is that makes us human after the credits roll.


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