Take the photo book CCCP cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed about abandoned futuristic ex-soviet buildings, add mid-80's to early 90's computer case design, eerily decayed locations and various snowy-rainy-sleety alienating but photogenic weather conditions. Maybe a dash of Rahul Jain's documentary Machines too. Mix with profound sense of isolation and effective soundscapes that make viewers' bones shake. Sprinkle with obscure symbolism. What do we have? A sequel to sci-fi classic, which does honor to legacy of the original but also tries a little too hard. Also, approximately hundredth thousandth chapter in long-running series "rootless man feeling lonely", so many times explored in Western culture.

It IS a good movie. Worth seeing. Maybe twice, and again when it comes to Netflix. But it's not the best movie of the current century.


80,000 morally questionable hours of your life

The most universal emotionally resonant aspect of the film is being compelled to do abhorrent things as a part of a faulty but inescapable system. "K" has to hunt down and kill his own kind, he literally can't say "no" to his boss. And it's the same for Luv, Wallace's replicant assistant. She knows the things she has to do for him are wrong, but no choice exists. And it makes no difference that Luv is corporate and K works for government, both can't help but do their utmost to perpetuate the sad state of the world. Exploited children, enslaved workforce of replicants and a ruined planet where nothing prospers except for Wallace corporation.

This is how being part of an economic-political global system aiming for maximum profits regardless of consequences or immediate suffering feels like. Obviously people living in a western democracy are not forced at gunpoint to their jobs, but feelings of helplessness are still real. It's so easy to end up working for causes one finds morally questionable, just because working for good causes hardly ever pays. Just being a consumer makes one complicit in who-knows how many terrible crimes. Perhaps there are alternatives, but finding them takes time and dedication, and there's little left of either after a hard working day, and the obvious choices are presented conveniently within arm's reach (carefully positioned right there by someone else working for causes they don't in their heart of hearts support OR who rationalize like hell).

Replicants are effective workers, ideal workers even, and it is established several times in the movie that humankind's road to stars can't be paved with anything else than this disposable, obedient workforce. And we must go to the stars! Really, there is no other way to ensure humankind's survival, after all natural life is wiped out. Wallace is obviously evil and in throes of hubris, but he has a point.


Is your hammer or knife longing for love?

"K", nearly human, longs for love and affection, but his job taints his whole life. Other replicants despise him for hunting his own kind, and to humans he is at best a convenient tool, at worst a disgusting abomination. Being treated as a tool is contagious: "K" fulfills his very understandable longing for connection with a purchased simulated companion. Joi does not even have what little freedom replicants have. She is programmed to love whomever buys her, or at least to give the appearance of love. She can't even evade implied expectations like "K" does with his boss. She'll do anything that would make him happy, up to and including hiring prostitutes for proxy lovers. But perhaps she's not conscious at all. We don't know.

The men in this movie have to let go of their loves. Deckard loved Rachel, even if it was perhaps pre-programmed, and so he won't accept a substitute. "K" in some way truly cared for virtual Joi, and in the end he has to face how hollow their relationship was.


A true loner has no oblgations besides what he chooses

Oh, poor "K"! There is a point when he thinks he has *something*: romantic love, even as an illusion, and an echo of a family, and a slight hope of not being created solely to be a blade runner. But all of that disappears. Luv destroys Joi, with visible menace and pleasure (is it an act of mercy on Joi, though? Perhaps she feels a kind of sisterly empathy towards another female in this universe where they, bar a rare case, are still valued by their ability to either produce offspring or inspire a man's lust or love). Deckard is someone else's father, "K" is no blood relation to anyone. And his hopes of being an exception, something other than just a serial number are shattered. Even his boss is dead, the one who once hinted at how she could force him to a relationship with her, but did not push the issue after he showed no interest. He is not even a blade runner anymore. Nothing tethers him to the world, his rootlessness is complete, he is at last free.

(Is this fantasy of being completely cut off from any binding relations the part that has made male reviewers give 10 sparkling stars and announce it to be the best movie of the century and which to me feels a bit childish? But maybe it's just that I find it hard to relate to a character with Ryan Gosling's face. Perhaps if "K" had been played by someone else I'd be out there singing the praises of the movie too.)

It is an abundant movie, of which it would be easy to write text enough to fill a book. Probably I've missed a lot. It definitely encourages a second view. Once for the plot and another time for the design and why not a third time to see if the mysterious bees finally make sense...