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Film of the week Blade in safe hands

Blade Runner 2049 (15) Directed by Denis Villeneuve

IT IS either a very brave or foolhardy person who would take on the enormous task of making a sequel to one of the most iconic cult sci-fi films of all time.

But this follow-up Blade Runner is in safe hands. French-Canadian writer-director Denis Villeneuve, with the help of veteran cinematographer Roger A Deakins, delivers a worthy sequel which immerses us deeper into the dystopian universe created by Ridley Scott, who's a producer here.

Set 30 years after the end of the first film, the world is even more toxic both figuratively and literally. New blade runner LAPD officer K (Ryan Gosling makes the perfect replicant) uncovers a long-buried secret which could destroy what is left of society and it leads him to search for former LAPD blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford, who gives the film much needed energy and life) who's been missing for three decades.

That is all I can reveal of the narrative for fear of someone being dispatched to “retire”me.

Painfully long and slow-moving, the film is exquisitely elegant and visually breathtakingly cinematic due to Deakins's awe-inspiring cinematography. He is the real star of the show and his depiction of a radioactive and toxic Las Vegas in ruins haunts and it's made even more poignant in the light of the horrendous shooting massacre that has just taken place there.

There are ingenious and seamless nods to the original film but Blade Runner 2049's biggest flaw is the complex and head-turning ideas explored in Hampton Fancher and Michael Green's screenplay which don't really bear close scrutiny.

Once again, the focus is on our growing dependence on technology, the road to our self-destruction and the rights and evolution of a minority, be it an android one.

But this is a film which poses more questions than it answers and while it isn't the ground-breaker that Scott's original was back in 1982, it's worth remembering that Blade Runner wasn't a huge hit as it was so ahead of its time.

So was it worth the wait? For me, the jury is still out. My advice — watch it on the biggest screen possible.


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