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by Reg Starkey
Confession time: I never saw Ridley Scott's original, so perhaps I have
no meaningful reference point? Alternatively, arguably, I am therefore less
at risk of adopting a King's New Clothes position. The facts, it seems to
me, are these: the new film is closer to three hours than it is to two hours
long. It is LONG. It is predominantly amber in colour. Or what we used
to call `biscuit' in my childhood ­ a horrible gloomy colour, worse even
than beige. The sci-fi setting is Los Angeles in 2049. If `La La Land' was
`utopian' this is definitely dystopian. Ryan Gosling is as decorative as
ever and super-competent as
the 21st century LAPD `bounty
hunter' eliminating unwanted
`replicants'. Harrison Ford is rock solid and
wearing well after all these years. The most irresistible
newcomer (to me) was Ana de Armas, who reminded me of
Brigitte Bardot at the same age. Fantastically gorgeous, as `Joi'
- in a joyless world where there is no hope and there are no
This new film from Sally Potter is a short, sharp and dark delight. Only 71
minutes on screen, it is like being a fly on a wall in a private celebration of
political success. Kristin Scott Thomas is totally convincing as the newly
promoted Minister with her high ideals and a private personal secret
on an altogether lower plane. Timothy Spall is simply mesmerising as
her long suffering supportive husband, who has two awkward truths
he feels compelled to share. Either one would have a dramatic effect.
Both together are dynamite! The rest of the cast may be caricatures
of contemporary stereotypes - ivory tower academics, champagne
socialists, cocaine-fuelled bankers, cliché driven life coaches, feminist
lesbians - but they are all beautifully cast and delightfully delivered.
This is a bitter-sweet delight, occasionally moving close to tragedy but
thankfully staying rewardingly in farce. Highly recommended, do see it
if you can.