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Blade Runner 2049


Year: 2017 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is expected to have certain elements which are subtitled, but it is not expected that the entire film will contain them. 
Directed by Denis Villeneuve 
Starring: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas  
An image from Blade Runner 2049

After we all had our socks thoroughly blown off by his adaptation of Dune last year, it’s the perfect time to revisit Villeneuve’s other updated formulation of a classic sci-fi tale. Blade Runner 2049 isn’t so much a sequel to Ridley Scott’s film, but a revisitation; it chews over the same weighty themes of robot ethics and a post-human world, but leaps into its own meticulously designed world.

Set 30 years after the first film, the year 2049 finds Los Angeles adjusting to its android population. Ryan Gosling puts his quietly emotional persona to good use as Officer K - like Deckard, he is also a blade runner, a role complicated by his position as an android. On a mission in the first act, K comes across a buried secret which may implicate his own past, and call into question the manufactured future of replicants. It’s a mystery which interests not only K’s bosses but a shadowy industrialist CEO, Niander Wallace (Jared Leto), and his aims of an android army both self-sustaining and subservient. Of course, it also ties dramatically back to Deckard, whom K eventually is forced to hunt out - their sinister encounter in a run-down Las Vegas dump is electrifying.

Villenueve ramps up the stakes to his film, but utterly preserves the haunting, thoughtful rhythm of its predecessor. It’s a world of neon skyscrapers and industrial cathedrals, with distinct and digitally enhanced colour palettes that look breathtaking on the big screen. There are action set-pieces as K is hunted down by Wallace’s sidekick, but it is nothing like a popcorn riff on androids; the return of Hampton Fancher, a script writer on the original, is a clue to the success with which 2049 preserves and redoubles Blade Runner’s mysteries. It’s a marvellous experience.

Max King

If you’re a fan of the original Blade Runner, you may be sceptical of 2049. Making this film decades after the first film might seem like a cash grab… but you’re in for a surprise.

Blade Runner 2049 not only manages to match the first movie, but arguably surpasses it. Following the story of a replicant blade runner named K, Blade Runner 2049 has the intelligence of its predecessor, a phenomenal lead in Ryan Gosling, and the most beautiful cinematography of the year. Cinematographer Roger Deacons manages to outdo the first Blade Runner, which is not an easy feat.

Reintroducing the character of Rick Deckard, still portrayed by Harrison Ford, 2049 intertwines with the first film while still remaining its own clear story. Whether you saw Blade Runner a day ago or a year ago, 2049 will feel fresh and mesmerising for fans and newcomers alike.

Tiff Milner

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Screenings of this film:

2017/2018 Spring Term (digital)
2017/2018 Spring Term (digital)
2022/2023 Autumn Term (digital)