Film: Blade Runner 2049
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Robin Wright, Jared Leto, Dave Bautista, Barkhad Abadi, Sylvia Hooks, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James
Director: Dennis Villeneuve
Viewers and critics alike may rave over the phenomenal camerawork, the sonorous music score, and the impressive acting but for me, what makes Dennis Villeneuve’s sequel to Ridley Scott’s adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? a profoundly philosophical story by the sci fi author Philip K. Dick, is its heart-warmingly pro-life worldview.
Few movies/books inspired by sacred scripture have taken such an overtly pro-life stance as Villeneuve’s deeply engaging film. Because the story plays out in a ravaged world – the setting is post-apocalyptic America – the celebration of the sanctity of life by a Replicant (android resembling a human) makes it all the more significant. Equally important, the titular protagonist LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling) exhibits empathy and free will in his decision to not “erase” innocents even as he dutifully carries out his primary task of policing humans and robots.
Unlike Blade Runner Deckard (Harrison Ford) who went into hiding after the events of Scott’s 1982 film, Officer K is not a conflicted individual agonising over rebellious replicants who desire to be like their creators. (See the book of Genesis) although in one key sequence, he talks about the soul and the meaning of life.
The viewer sees early on that the central character assuages loneliness with a hologram (Ana de Armas). Aptly named Joi, she is a technological marvel, as wondrously captured on film as the cold, dark, dusty and surreal wilderness by cinematographer Roger Deakins.
Like Deckard in the cult classic, Officer K’s human boss Lt Joshi (Robin Wright) has no compunctions justifying killings to contain a secret whose unravelling could create even greater havoc. Even more fascinating are such cold-blooded corporate honchos as Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) and his sidekick Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) who is anything but.
The Replicant leader played by Hiam Abbass is also intense and makes an interesting assertion on the human condition to which they all aspire. Blade Runner 2049 exalts themes of family, self-sacrifice and what it means to be human. Villeneuve’s direction is masterly and the cast is, like the film; splendid.