I’ve Seen Things You People Wouldn’t Believe

Fiery the angels fell; deep thunder rolled around their shores; burning with the fires of Orc.

Bladerunner 2049 opened in cinemas in the UK yesterday – 6th October 2017. I was lucky enough to catch the 2nd showing of the day at the Dukes at Komedia cinema in Brighton. Set 30 years after the original film – 2049 – it had a lot to live up to in the wake of many people’s sci fi favourite movie of all time (mine included).

As a film buff and movie goer I’ve learned to manage my expectations, so despite the teasingly pleasing imagery and news of a good producer, cinematographer and cast it wasn’t until the first tweets came in after the press screening last week that I started to lose my shit!

The film is certainly a worthy sequel. But it’s actually so much more than that as it extends and updates the premise of the original movie. It challenges our beliefs in the direction that technology is unerringly taking us. It makes us question our own stories and the stories of others.

Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it? That’s what it is to be a slave.

It’s also very brutal – more so than the original even was – but the brutality fits the dystopia even moreso, and in one amazing scene (comparable to the moment of patricide in the original) there is a defining silence as the role of replicant & human is reversed. This is a stunning sequence between our hero’s boss (played by Robin Wright) and the Wallace Corporation hench-woman (the gorgeous Sylvia Hoeks).

In credit (presumably) to Hans Zimmer this pivotal moment (as many other sections of the middle of the film) has no score. And it’s these extended moments (the film is long at 2:45) that give the viewer the time to question not only what they have seen but also their own beliefs and present the slight disorientation that all great science fiction does.

Philip K Dick would have liked this. His special brand of sci fi is all about getting into your head and challenging what you think is real. What director Denis Villeneuve & producer Ridley Scott have done with this wonderful cultural investment is present a further exploration of the inevitability of the dystopian future of humankind. There is both the ghastliness of the barren planet, the solice of future/modern life, and the lure of technology as the solution.

In one of the films most beguiling moments, it’s most beautiful paradigm shifts – indeed a moment almost stolen from Pinochio (or possibly even AI/Supertoys Last all Summer Long, hey dad!) – our hero K is treated by his virtual girlfriend to a virtually real menage-a-trois, which is quite literally an orgy of the possibilities of technology but twisted into this beautiful awareness/revelation that rivals Rachel’s own awakening in the original.

There’s so much more to say – but for now no more spoilers! Go see it… I’ll be writing more 🙂

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Not in the least bit copyrighted by Tim Aldiss 2012