When the first “Blade Runner 2049” trailer debuted at the beginning of May, one thing became very clear: Roger Deakins was not messing around. Even the most diehard fans of the legendary cinematographer were left speechless by his futuristic vision, which confirmed in just over two minutes that Denis Villeneuve’s sequel would be the most visually dazzling blockbuster of 2017. The “2049” review embargo has officially broken, and now it’s become clear what a massive achievement the movie is for Deakins.
“2049” marks the third collaboration between Denis Villeneuve and the cinematographer. Their previous efforts include “Prisoners,” and “Sicario,” both of which earned Deakins Oscar nominations for Best Cinematography. Deakins has earned 13 career nominations throughout his career but has never won an Oscar. Based on the universal raves for his work behind the camera on “Blade Runner,” it appears this could finally be the man’s awards season.
In his A- review, IndieWire’s Eric Kohn praises Deakins cinematography, calling it “one of the most beautiful science-fiction achievements in recent memory.” “He imbues every frame with the kind of complex artistry one would expect from the profession’s top veteran,” he writes. “Deakins handles the dark corridors of the urban nightlife with ease, balancing them with bright white factories, yellow-tinted hideouts, and blankets of snow.”
Find out what critics across the country have to say about Deakins’ work in the review roundup below.
Together with DP Roger Deakins (in the most spectacular of their three collaborations) and a gifted team of design artists (led by “Spectre” production designer Dennis Gassner), Villeneuve offers a bracing vision of where humankind is headed…Villeneuve and Deakins outdo themselves in depicting the topography and skylines of a vastly transformed western United States.
Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly:
Every impeccably composed shot — a surreal six-handed love scene; a shimmering hologram of Elvis, hip-swiveling into eternity; a “newborn” replicant, slick with amniotic goo — feels like such a ravishing visual feast.
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone:
Every minute of this mesmerizing mindbender is a visual feast to gorge on…Camera genius Roger Deakins (give this man an Oscar already!) creates a look that both salutes and moves on from the original, forging its own dazzling identity.
Dan Jolin, Empire:
The ’82 dream team of Scott and DP Jordan Cronenweth has made way for Canadian director Denis Villeneuve and master cinematographer Roger Deakins…That vast screen will swallow you up and draw you deep into an impeccably envisioned black-mirror reality that you’ll not want to leave, for all its deadly and unsavoury peculiarities. It’s so sensually impressive, it’s hard not to gush. If Deakins doesn’t win an Oscar for this, then the universe is clearly broken.
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian:
It just has to be experienced on the biggest screen possible. “Blade Runner 2049” is a narcotic spectacle of eerie and pitiless vastness, by turns satirical, tragic and romantic. This film’s scale is extraordinary. It places the acid tab of cinema-pleasure on your tongue.
Robbie Collin, The Telegraph:
Roger Deakins’s head-spinning cinematography – which, when it’s not gliding over dust-blown deserts and teeming neon chasms, keeps finding ingenious ways to make faces and bodies overlap, blend and diffuse. I felt like I’d just seen the last blockbuster ever made. But like “Mad Max: Fury Road: before it, it shows you just how much further this medium has to go.
Matt Singer, ScreenCrush:
My God, what a beautiful movie this is. Blade Runner 2049 looks like someone dared director Denis Villeneuve and cinematographer Roger Deakins to make the most visually spectacular science-fiction film of the century — and then they actually did it. You could watch this movie with no sound (something I don’t advocate you do, because the dialogue, music, and sound design are all incredible too) and still enjoy each of the film’s 163 minutes. Every frame here tells a story.
Bryan Bishop, The Verge:
Deakins delivers some of the best work of his career, deftly evoking the look of the original while also bringing moments of extreme color and even more extreme contrast to the table. I had the benefit of seeing the film projected in the high dynamic-range Dolby Vision format, and it’s shocking just how much can be done when someone like Deakins is able to use that wider color gamut and increased contrast to sculpt a movie’s imagery. Roger Deakins has been one of the best cinematographers in the world for decades now, yet has somehow remained Oscar-less. If he doesn’t win one for his work in “Blade Runner 2049,” the Academy Awards should just pack it up and call it a day. The film is that beautiful.
Matt Miller, Esquire:
I could have sat through three hours of this thing with the sound off, just staring at the works of art on the screen. Nearly every frame looks like some sort of dystopian masterwork painting—a credit to cinematographer Roger Deakins, who should finally get his goddamn Oscar for this.
“Blade Runner 2049” opens in theaters nationwide October 6.