Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 ★★★★½

Finally answers the 35-year-old question no one was asking: what if 'Blade Runner' was still a technical marvel to behold, a sensory experience for the ages, a decidedly unhurriedly-paced throwback to film noir, a rare book adaptation that gives proper weight to the original work's themes, but also a thoroughly compelling, elegant and overpowering modern blockbuster by one of today's finest big-movie directors?

What you get is a masterclass in how to elegantly legitimatize a largely unnecessary cooptation of a solidified cornerstone of pop culture by imbuing it with exceedingly fascinating new narrative approaches to the picture's iconic cyber-dystopian universe, and fully employing the lavish, expensive technology of today to the absolute enveloping aesthetic grandeur and prominence that the '82 classic craved.

It's the type of film where everyone behind the camera, particularly director, composer and DP, get more attention than any actor could ever wish for, but that's because they positively demand it, and make it their own for the entirety of however-long the thing is. Anywhere else that usually means trouble, yet Villeneuve is enough of a classic storytelling auteur to perceive that negating both movie and audience from an imperatively captivating dramatic story, as intentionally simple or labyrinthine as it may be, would be exactly like building a replicant without a basic collection of core emotional memories and still believe it could pass for a human.

Cautious to throw more superlatives on a first watch, however as someone with a significant (although involuntary) animosity towards motion pictures that could often to reduced to the word 'boring', it feels important to point out that this is categorically not the case here. Unless that's how you classify 'Sicario', then it's very much the case here.

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