15 July 2024

Welcome to 2036

Denis Villeneuve chose three directors to produce three short films ahead of the release of his feature ‘Blade Runner 2049’.

‘2036: Nexus Dawn’, directed by Lucas Scott (Morgan, The Martian) is the first of the three shorts that are to dramatise the events between 2019, when the first film took place, and 2049.  This seems a much more interesting way of spanning the 30-year gap between films; rather than the conventional method of teasers, trailers or even a prologue at the beginning of ‘2049’.

The short film ‘’Nexus: 2036’’ gives us our first glimpse of visually impaired Niander Wallace (Jared Leto)- a key character in 2049.  You’d think we’d be bored of seeing villains with deformities, but here it very much works in Leto’s favour. You can already tell that being blind has no effect on his power at all.

Wallace introduces a new line of replicants called the Nexus 9 to a group headed by Benedict Wong. These new replicants follow Wallace’s every word, to some extreme ends. He is seeking to have the ban on replicants revoked. As he sees it, this ban ‘[has] changed the hands of progress.’  It is probably safe to assume this will be the main source of conflict in the new feature film.

And if you’re worried about Jared Leto after the Joker fiasco, rest assured there is little need to be. This short alone will restore your faith in his acting ability. He is in his element, and seems to have mastered the art of owning a scene. He manages to be both intense and calm. He is mesmerising.

Sonically, the short has a very unsettling vibe.  It doesn’t quite have the dark atmosphere is the original Blade Runner film, but it’s definitely eerie and uncomfortable.

The normal sounds of the lawmakers- looking at their watch, clicking buttons, the tiny movements of their seats- are all louder.  The music is also intrusive, especially the lingering piano notes.

This simple piano emphasises the feeling of elegant power that Leto’s character portrays.  It’s almost angelic.  Godly even.

Visually, it feels broken and scattered. This is due to many shots and many cuts, which some might find distracting.  Perhaps it would be more powerful to let the shot linger, and therefore, let the information resonate with the audience.  As they say, less is more.

Again, though, it adds to the uncomfortable feeling of the scene; we can imagine how the other people in the room with Wallace must feel.

Overall, ‘2036: Nexus Dawn’ is a stylish short film, that will only make you more excited for the feature film to come out later this year.

‘Blade Runner 2049; is in cinema’s October 4th, starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford.  ‘2036: Nexus Dawn’ is available to watch now. Release dates of the following two shorts are still unknown, as is who Villeneuve has chosen to direct them.

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