A new feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at “Blade Runner 2049,” the survival flick “The Mountain Between Us” and the J.D. Salinger biopic “Rebel in the Rye.”
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the much anticipated “Blade Runner 2049,” the survival flick “The Mountain Between Us” and the J.D. Salinger biopic “Rebel in the Rye.”
Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve and I are talking about how technology impacts our lives, when technology impacts our interview. The phone goes dead.
“Sorry about that,” he says back on the line. “There was another call and I didn’t want it to be distracting but I pushed the wrong button. I was doing an interview with someone who was not understanding a word I was saying! Then I realized, I’m not talking to Richard anymore. I’m talking to an unknown person. That says a lot about where we are now.”
Villeneuve, the Oscar-nominated Trois-Rivières, Que.-born director, saw the original Blade Runner when he was 15 years old.
“It was a hybrid of film noir with sci-fi,” he says. “The world that was depicted in the first movie, it was the first time I felt like I had seen a serious vision of what could be our future. There was so much poetry involved in the characters. There is strength in the vision. It is very singular, very unique and at the time I was a science fiction addict and for me it became an instant classic.”
A self-described dreamer, Villeneuve says the movie lit his imagination on fire.
“In those years my strength was dreaming,” he recalls. “I spent the first years of my life more in dreams than in reality. There are a lot of dreams I had back then that are inspiring me today.”
Thematically the new film harkens back to Ridley Scott’s original but instead of being a reboot or a remake it grows organically out of the 1982 film. Like the original it is about discovering what is real and what it means to be human and how technology fits into that puzzle.
“I felt it had the potential to tell a very strong story about the human condition,” he says, “about our relationship with technology. These are timeless questions that were already present in the first movie but I thought it made sense to bring back those questions today, 30 years later when our relationship with technology has evolved so much. When Blade Runner was released it was the time when we were starting to see personal computers in homes. It was the very beginning of the electronic revolution and now it is a different world.
“When you make a science fiction movie it is a mirror of today. It is nothing else than that, an exploration of today.”
Blade Runner 2049 is a mix of old and new, of Scott’s classic vision and Villeneuve’s new ideas. A throwback to the first film comes in the form of Harrison Ford, who recreates his role of retired blade runner Rick Deckard. To find someone who could carry himself against the screen legend Villeneuve brought in fellow Canadian Ryan Gosling.
“I needed that taciturn quality; quiet and strong,” he says. “I needed someone with charisma, big enough to be in front of Harrison Ford and not melt. A real movie star. I knew at some point he would be face-to-face with one of the biggest stars of all time.”
Reinventing a beloved classic like Blade Runner takes guts. When I ask Villeneuve if he looked to Scott for guidance he laughs. “His advice was, ‘Don’t f-— it up.’”
BladeHeads hoping to learn intimate details about Denis Villeneuve’s continuation of Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci fi detective masterwork will be disappointed by this review. I’m treating “Blade Runner 2049” like a high tech “Crying Game.” Remember that? “The movie everyone is talking about… But no one is giving away its secrets.” Spoilers for the flick will likely be available on twitter roughly 0.0001 nanoseconds after the film’s first public showing so check there. You won’t find them here.
I will say the new film is set thirty years after the events of Scott’s film. Ryan Gosling is Los Angeles Police Department’s Officer K, a blade runner who hunts down and eliminates rogue humanoid androids called replicants. When he makes a startling discovery in the field his supervisor Lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright) sends him to track down the only person who can help save humanity, retired blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford). “You’re a cop. I did your job once. I was good at it,” he says.
I will also say that Jared Leto plays a replicant manufacturer named Niander Wallace, that David Bautista makes an appearance and that it rains a lot. But that’s it.
“Blade Runner 2049” is a beautiful looking movie, simultaneously lush but austere. Villeneuve’s frequent collaborator, cinematographer Roger Deakins, creates eye-catching tableaus that blend moody film noir, desaturated dystopia, vivid neon cityscapes and more. Each setting in every scene has its own unique palette that has echoes of the original film, but feels fresh. It’s a movie that visually doesn’t slavishly adhere to Scott’s vision but grows organically out of it.
Thematically it harkens back while creating a new story. Like the original it is still about discovering what is real, and what it means to be human but it expands on the search for self and the coming to grips with what you find, touching on real life issues like false memories and fear of progress.
Keeping it grounded are reverberations from our lives. A hologram that keeps K company is simply the logical extension of Siri, a comforting voice that tells you what you want to hear. Our brave new world of self-driving cars and machines that replace human interaction is simply the analogue “Blade Runner,” a prototype of the world we see on screen. Virtually everything we see is futuristic but not outside of the realm of possibility. These touchstones from our present lives and the primal search for self ensure the humanity of the story doesn’t get lost amid the technology.
Fans of the original will find much to like in “Blade Runner 2049.” It’s a skilfully made movie that works as a companion piece to Scott’s film and as a detective mystery. What it isn’t is easy. It’s a ponderous two-and-a-half hours long, grappling with ideas rather than simply allowing characters to physically grapple with one another. There is the odd combat scene but the real action here happens internally.