Blade Runner 2049

I should have violated my rule forbidding alcohol consumption before seeing a movie.

Blade Runner 2049Why is it that so many critics frequently praise films that the general public finds to be profoundly lackluster? Isn’t it strange that they find artistic tedium to be a cinematic treasure?

As was the case with his recently over-hyped release Arrival, Director Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 is confusing beyond any rational explanation. Repeating their call made with this year’s monstrous disaster Mother, some critics are urging viewers to see this film a second time so that you can grasp its meaning. Given that this movie is two hours 44 minutes long, I can only suggest that you spare yourself the trouble.

To be quite frank, though it stars Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, it is the performance of three women that save the film from total collapse. Mr. Gosling plays K, a Blade Runner with the Los Angeles Police Department whose responsibility is to kill aging androids still living in isolation. After he wipes out one known as Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista) at the beginning of the movie, he discovers secrets that send him on a quest where he risks his own destruction.

It is not an exaggeration to say that Mr. Gosling is little more than a one trick pony in that he spends the entire film with a frown on his face. In the process, most of the audience was left as emotionally dysfunctional as K, and you were left wishing that Warner Brothers had installed The Tingler (1959) in each seat.

Though Harrison Ford makes a brief appearance during the last 30 minutes  of the film where he played Rick Deckard, his character from the first Blade Runner film (1982), he and Gosling do little more than fight one another as the two join in a quest to unravel Gosling’s secret. Let me just note that Ford’s Deckard lives alone in a well-preserved Las Vegas casino where he watches large videos of both Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra sing old classics.

As noted, this film is saved from oblivion by the performances of Ana De Armas, Sylvia Hoeks and Robin Wright. Ms. Armas plays Joi, K’s artificially created girlfriend who can appear or disappear by simply flipping a switch. It is clear that they have both fallen in love with one another, and she simply seeks a way to bring some happiness and fulfillment to a guy devoid of both.

Ms. Wright plays Lieutenant Joshi, K’s human boss. Clearly devoted to him, she has a nasty attitude that imperils her own survival as she sees K going from a hunter to one of the hunted.

However, it is not an exaggeration to say that this movie belongs to Ms. Hoeks, ironically known as Luv. She is an assassin working for Niander Wallace (a wasted, small role for Jared Leto), the designer of a new generation of androids, and she may be one of the most devastatingly enchanting female killers to have graced the big screen. Special recognition should go to her and Julianne Moore for her role in the recent Kingsmen film.

In any event, see this film at your own risk. Laced with loud music and special effects showing naked women projected against large buildings in downtown LA, it may help you kick an opioid addiction.