Adrian Graham

Abandoned desert city, orange light, with futuristic car and figure

Blade Runner 2049

Continuing the story of 1984’s original Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049 sees officer ‘K’ – a new model of obedient ‘replicant’ – retire an old style military ‘replicant’ working at a protein farm. ‘K’ inadvertently stumbles across a mystery that sheds new light on the ‘replicants’ as a species.

The story deals with typically Philip K Dick themes around reality and simulation. Real memories versus implanted memories. The general idea being: if one experiences a fake memory as if it’s real, then is it not real for that person? To highlight this paradox, Officer ‘K’ has a holographic girlfriend, a simulation of a woman based on AI created by the same company that manufacturers the ‘replicants’. She cooks him a visually alluring steak and chips, which he can’t eat because it’s a hologram. Instead it’s superimposed over his actual meal, a humdrum bowl of protein. The stunning cinematography and landscapes conjure up both high-tech and eco-fail-scapes. They create atmosphere and distract the viewer from the thin plot-line and the lack of character development.

For a story encapsulating big ideas – like the nature of human identity – Blade Runner 2049 feels stylishly superficial.

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