The World of Blade Runner 2049: Part One – The Future Is A Multiculti Hyperloop
I admit it. I, like you, enjoyed Blade Runner 2049 for the wrong reasons. Having, until last week, never seen the full-bore Cyberpunk 1980s original featuring Harrison Ford as the irrepressibly-cool Rick Deckard, I didn’t know what to expect. The world of Blade Runner is something that anyone who sees it, most of all those of us on the right, will be stewing on for some time.
Gosling’s slightly reserved style, typified by his previous portrayal of the silent and effective Driver, was exactly right for ‘K’. As one of many lost white half-man-half-machines he exists in a world which he has been created for, but which is not his. Capable of emoting only to his gorgeous, well-dressed and well mannered hologram wife — straight out of a soap commercial in the 1950s — and trapped inside a high-rise apartment even the most galling London estate agent wouldn’t have the cheek to call ‘cosy’, he might represent not just the future of the Bladerunner universe, but also of ours too.
The French Canadian director Denis Villenueve and British cinematographer Roger Deakins crack at reviving the cult classic will have you transfixed for the admittedly hefty two and three quarter hour epic. If you just read that and winced, my advice to you is to get comfier seats, go pee beforehand and learn to stop being so high time preference. The film is so visually stunning, however taken along you are by the movie’s narrative twists and turns, you will be amiss if you don’t catch it while it’s still in cinemas. It’s so stunning you almost forget Los Angeles, 2049 is just the kind of rootless multiculti cyber-Brazil that they’re putting chemicals in the water for.
The tightly packed cityscape tinged with the relics of the retro-cyberpunk fetishised Tokyo of the 1980s — and complete with a reprise of the giant, LCD Atari advertisement, to boot — is less Venus Project, more TV KWA’s SimCity: Libertarian Edition, with cultures and people of all varieties; the back street Somali tech-tinkerer, on-street sex sauna and brothel, and Japanese-run noodle bar. Think of this universe, to paraphrase Harold Wilson, as ‘The Non-White Heat of the Technological Revolution’.
Los Angeles 2049’s flying cars, 1-D waifus and grotty cityscape should give pause to all of us who, perhaps rightly, fantasise about a return to space exploration, great national projects and technological efforts and remind us that just as in the Blade Runner universe, in our world too there is no techno-fix for national suicide. And while the current cause of our inability to repeat and improve on Concorde and the Moon landing has lack of national confidence and cohesion at its core, you cannot jump-start cohesion by building giant flame-belching skyscraper cities. As Villenueve’s depiction well shows, technology can well take off in its own direction and leave our people behind.
Yes, definitely get excited, you’ll be on HyperloopⓇ, but you’ll still be sat between people shouting Bengali into prepaid phones.