Blade Runner 2049, a Not Quite Review

This afternoon, I saw Blade Runner 2049, this evening, I had planned to review it. As the title suggests, I’m not really doing that. In fact, I’m not doing that at all. I went in with intentions of keeping some mental notes, thinking about themes, maybe a few witty lines to write, all of that quickly went away.

Actually, it was swept away. Swept away by the visuals, the narrative and, most of all, by the sound. Denis Villeneuve and his team did one truly innovative thing with this film; they didn’t try and top the original. The sound design is taken straight from Ridley Scott’s masterpiece, with booming bass notes injecting urgency and tension into this beautifully slow paced film. (Actually, this slow pace may be another innovation; not that it hasn’t been done before of course, just that it really is quite unusual for a modern blockbuster.) By taking its auditory cues so liberally from Blade Runner, 2049 is immediately seated in the same, genre defining, world. The result is that, for me, Villeneuve’s work has the single most powerful and affecting sound design of any film I have ever seen. This is not to say it is better than its predecessor, just that my experience of the film was unlike anything I have seen, or heard, before. I got to see 2049 in an IMAX theatre where those aforementioned bass notes reverberated through me, seemingly vibrating my bones. As the credits rolled, I sat there in silence, mouth agape, letting the music crash over me, with only the slightly obnoxious red of the house lights spoiling my reverie.

We are going to go and see the film again next week, fortunately my, (long suffering), girlfriend enjoyed it every bit as much as I did. Once we have, I will write a proper review. For now however, all I can do is urge everyone to go and see this wonderful film, and, if you have the opportunity, to do so in IMAX.