Blade Runner 2049

I recently read an article that claimed ‘Blade Runner 2049 is a misogynistic mess’. As an avid film fan – and as a woman – this bold statement made me feel uneasy. And despite being a less than avid science fiction fan, but a feminist, I instantly disagreed. Here’s why:

  • The majority of the film’s supporting characters are women who are fierce, brave, intelligent and in control, including Robin Wright who is quite literally the superior to Ryan Gosling’s K. Wright’s character meets a fate that is certainly dark and grisly but it feels, significantly, under her own terms as she works to protect a secret.
  • The fundamental narrative for the film is based on a startling discovery by the renamed Tyrell Corporation described as a ‘miracle’ which a character from the first film, Rachael – basically the answer to the development of a decaying civilisation – , is responsible for.
  • Jared Leto’s Niander Wallace has a female replicant assistant known as Luv (Sylvia Hoeks). Luv is way beyond average in combat and fiercely loyal. She is also the most feared character in the film and makes for a terrifying opponent to K and Deckard. Like legit, she is mega scary. Luv‘s character is also much more developed than Leto’s Wallace, and the real antagonist of the film.
  • There is a pending replicant uprising against the humans and, you guessed it, it’s being helmed by a woman who commands respect and holds authority.

Women do play roles in Blade Runner 2049 which are challenging, and the film delivers a bleak and unpleasant look at the future, but for both sexes. And isn’t a bleak and unsettling dystopian future the point of Blade Runner? This new world is shown with such visual mastery at such an involving level you can’t help but believe it’s all real. I think to call this sequel misogynistic is to do the film, and the point of the role women play within the film, a disservice. Also, Robin Wright, Ana de Armas, Mackenzie Davis and Carla Juri are all exceptional. There is obvious imagery of the female body as spectacle, but it’s not gratuitous, and the sheer scale of the visuals are placed to make you gasp in awe rather than horror.

Villeneuve has created a superior modern day movie that looks not too far into the future in intricate detail, provided by master cinematographer Roger Deakins. From giant set pieces to revolutionary visual effects, the Californian landscape created in Blade Runner 2049 is an absolute vision to behold. Looks aside, there’s a hair-raising score of dreams provided by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch and genre fans will revel in it. The film is 163 minutes of gold and must be seen in the cinema. Perhaps too long, but beguiling enough to keep its audience tuned in.

To perceive Blade Runner 2049 as misogynistic is to misunderstand its intentions. And to misunderstand its intentions as a piece of world class cinema would be a shame. Villeneuve has made something so special here from a piece of filmmaking that was already revered so highly, and cemented himself as a true auteur in the process. See it, love it, and don’t overthink it.

Creed, review

What does it say about a film-maker when his second film is an inventive take on a familiar story that wins the hearts of critics and audiences, and the first was a sociopolitical feature that told the tragic story of a young man who had his life stolen from him? Unsurprisingly, it says a lot. It says that this film-maker, Ryan Coogler, is an absolute force to be reckoned with. It says he has drive, talent and a flare for contemporary cinema. It says he knows the rule-book but he’s not afraid to toss it out of the window when needed. Creed, the Rocky hit for a new generation, exemplifies the skill of Coogler as a young director who has a bright future behind the camera and a fierce bravery. Sylvester Stallone put his faith in the man, allowing him to direct, write, and develop the story almost single-handedly and it seemingly paid off.

Creed follows Adonis Johnson a.k.a Adonis Creed; the illegitimate child of Apollo, he is ready to prove his worth as a serious boxer, and relocates to Philadelphia to seek out Rocky for personal training Stallone steps up once again as the beloved Rocky Balboa, training Creed and teaching him discipline and respect. Michael B. Jordan – a firm favourite of Coogler – plays the titular boxer, and he’s good. Really good. Jordan was cemented in the minds of most film aficionados following his role in Fruitvale Station. That was an independent biopic exploring the shocking actions of Californian police, this is a blockbuster epic that takes audiences directly into the ring. In both, the actor exceeds expectations and embodies his roles appropriately. As Creed, Jordan exhibits a streak of rebellion and cockiness alongside a quiet gentleness and fragility that only present themselves at the necessary moments. Had the casting been different, the film could have gone down a precarious road.

Creed Movie Film Trailers Reviews Movieholic Hub

Creed Movie Film Trailers Reviews Movieholic Hub

Coogler is a director with an aesthetic eye, he knows what looks good and what should be where and he’s sure to work with his crew to utilise every aspect of a feature to create a finished product. Lighting is used effectively in the final fight sequence, while the score is important throughout – transcending a change in time and neighbourhood from that of the earlier Rocky films meaning Creed now stands independently (and audience-goers are likely eagerly awaiting a sequel). The film escapes genre cliches and a feeling of unwanted nostalgia by bypassing the cornier elements of 1970’s cinema perhaps seen in earlier efforts to deliver something truly contemporary. That modernism is needed in order to impress a new wave of viewers, but there’s this sense of remembrance that ties the feature together and welcomes back returning fans.

This is solid film-making that simply does not disappoint. At only 29 years old, director Coogler is one to seriously watch as he goes from strength to strength in his career as he takes his time to tell a story through his level of artistic brilliance. See it, love it.