Blade Runner 2049 Review
~Spoilers included from here on~
What does Blade Runner 2049 convey?
The movie has a bunch of things to say and those are mostly said through the reactions of the characters to various situations rather than anything else in the entire movie. Ryan Gosling’s character begins in the movie as just any other ordinary “skinjob” who just happens to be working as a police detective. That does not make him any more likeable to the normal humans and from the very first scenes, we are told about that, quite extensively through various interactions that he has with other characters in the movie.
This is extremely important for the movie, as it basically builds on something entirely different than the first one. The first one was all about telling us about who Blade Runners are and how dangerous androids are to the human world. This time, although we are told how dangerous androids are again, we look at the story through the eyes of an android which itself is set with the task of killing its own kind. That already sets questions to be answered and a lot of theories come up with this. The ethics hidden behind all of this are so hard to nail down that it keeps the viewer constantly thinking what is right and what is wrong. We are constantly put in a dilemma of whether we should be supporting the main character or not. What does it mean to be an android? Is it special? Is it ordinary and shouldn’t be regarded as anything more than just a worker bot?
The main character starts getting involved in a plot that slowly allows him to think that he might indeed be special. Even himself, does not want to think that he is and is constantly trying to confirm that, believing that androids, like himself, are not special in the end of the day and that all of this is just circumstances that transpired in such a way that make it feel as if he is indeed special. At some point though, he breaks due to the evidence being very convincing and he decides to chase his special “destiny.”
Some of the best parts of the movie were actually the points where the plot twist happens and even though we are made to think that we have figured everything out (just like our main character has) we suddenly realize how plain and simple it all was from the start. Androids are indeed not special and at the same time can be. Our character suddenly has an identity crisis and comes to the turning point of the movie where he is called to make a decision. Even that is ironic in itself though, since he was just told he is an ordinary android but could nonetheless make a decision that would help change the future of the android race. Replicant or no replicant, he can make a change. However, he is so shattered by the fact that he believed a lie this whole time that he falls into silence.
One of my favorite parts in the movie was actually when Ryan Gosling slowly laid down in the end of the movie and just watched the snow fall. This takes us back to the last scene of the first Blade Runner movie where the famous “like tears in the rain” quote was said. Basically, these snowflakes are the “tears in the rain” and the movie even smartly changes the music to a happier tone to reminiscence the original scene (same thing happened with the music there, in case you hadn’t noticed). The main character finally feels at home with who he/it is and appreciates every passing moment instead of stressing about being special or not. Even Deckard tells him “why did you do all of this?” and Joe has no answer to it. Simply because there is no need for an answer to exist to that question. It felt right, not because the bad guys were trying to take advantage of certain events, but rather because he realized that replicants can be someone, without putting too much fuss into it. They can be happy with what they have. Even if what they have is fake memories of other people. Joe realizes he can feel and that it means something.
There is yet another antithesis to the first movie here, because since we know that replicants have a normal life span, things are much more complicated than in the original Blade Runner. There are no more “tears in the rain” to be lost, just like that, since replicants live as long as humans and can actually compete in the “making memories” part that humans were only able to do thus far. Replicants can be newborns and can live all the way to the point where they can die of old age. It gives them a more human nature that starts being “more human than human.” They have everything and more.
What is “more human than human” though? It is definitely not the extreme computing speed that replicants have, but rather the fact that they are starting to feel more than humans. They are a species trying to survive in a world where most humans have stopped feeling. They want life and that is the cause they are fighting for.
Is Deckard a replicant after all? Who are the bad guys?
The real question here is; who cares? This is yet another part of the movie that is so clear to understand. It does not matter if Deckard is human or replicant. What matters is that the replicants as a species are able to live on. The reason why we are never given a clear explanation makes it even more interesting, since it questions our beliefs in a very apparent way. Again, who cares what he is?
Even more important, is the question of who the “bad guys” really are. Is it not silly that the ones that make replicants are basically the bad guys, fighting against the replicants that are trying to salvage what meaningful parts they have in their species? Why would they not give in the child from the start and just be done with it?
Some of the most important scenes in the movie, were the ones where Jared Leto’s character slowly shows us how his character appreciates and understands the creation of replicants, but also shows us how his beliefs and reasons for liking the creation of replicants are very different than those of the creations’ reasons themselves. The obsessed creator opposed to the created species that is looking for freedom creates a very nice contrast that fuels the rest of the movie.
I feel like saying a whole lot more, but the rest is pretty much open to interpretation and I would hate to ruin it for anyone who loves to read movie reviews but at the same time wants to keep that part unknown and personal to themselves. I appreciate movies like Blade Runner because it makes me think and it makes me question things even on a personal level. To talk about the movie is one thing, but to try to push ideas and messages to others is another. I will therefore cut it short here.
I hope you enjoyed my review and as always, feel free to send me a message to discuss about it with me. Best way would be to leave a comment below. I would most certainly love to see how you perceived various things throughout the movie, especially if they are much different than the way I perceived them.
Next stop, Altered Carbon and Alita Battle Angel!
-Konstantinos “Kelfecil” Christakis