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The moment that made me believe in Blade Runner 2049 as a worthy sci-fi sequel came roughly 10 minutes into the film.

The sequel’s star, Ryan Gosling, plays a Blade Runner who is only identified by his serial number, KD3:6-7. We see the film open with a sweeping outdoor shot; we see K take on a Blade Runner assignment of killing a humanoid “Replicant”; and we see K fly back to central, permanently dark Los Angeles.
It’s all solid stuff, and it catches viewers up to everything that has, and hasn’t, persisted from the original film.
But it’s this 10-minute-mark moment that stayed with me: K’s interrogation by a fellow LAPD officer. K sits alone in a plastic, bright-white room, where he’s robotically pummeled by questions and call-and-response prompts. “Cells,” the invisible voice sternly states. “Cells,” K parrots back. Rapid-fire questions and bizarre phrases come and go—”what it’s like to hold a child in your arms,” that sort of thing—and K stares ahead, not directly into the camera and not really at anything, until the questions stop.
In another modern sci-fi film, this scene might have been drenched in CGI effects, replete with computer-seeming UI and flashes illustrating just how technological this robotic back-and-forth is.
It might have resembled the first film’s interrogations.

And it might have been accompanied by a lengthy explanation. Blade Runner 2049 does none of these things.

The interrogation room is shining, cold, and simple, and the sound and visual design focus squarely on K’s face—maybe human, maybe robotic, and maybe a little too much like our own experiences.

This is just how things are.
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