If there’s one problem with Blade Runner 2049, it’s that human kidneys are too unpredictable, and the bladder too insistent, to guarantee you won’t be the one doing the running during a critical scene. And trust me, they’re almost all critical.
That’s not to say Blade Runner 2049 is too long — even at an eonic 2 hours, 44 minutes (including end credits), this film is so bursting with story that it feels like it’s just whizzing by. (Editor’s note: All juvenile puns are intended and the author’s alone).
Your best bet is to skip that second cup of coffee and forego the 32 oz. Mr. Pibb on your Blade Runner day; you’ll want to soak up every drop of Denis Villenueve’s instant classic if you can. But if you must go — or you know you’re the type who probably should — there’s a beat where if you make a break for it, you won’t miss much.
[No spoilers here. Everything I’m about to describe is either in the trailers or decidedly vague.]
OK, so right around the halfway mark — a bit beyond even — there is a major confrontation between two female characters. When that moment concludes, the film abruptly changes location, from the blue-grey of rainy and snowy Los Angeles to the reddish-yellow dust storm of Las Vegas (or some future city very much like it).
The first thing you’ll see is Ryan Gosling’s character K in his flying cop car — he’s streaking toward the hiding place of Rick Deckard. That’s your cue. Time to hit it. The clock is ticking.
Keep in mind that this is something of a high-risk maneuver, because if you don’t time it right, or dilly-dally in the mirror or stop for Junior Mints, you will miss the beginning one of the film’s most pivotal and rewarding scenes.
But you have a good 4 minutes, maybe 5, to make it back to your seat before that happens. It’s enough.
What will you miss?
Some of the most gorgeous cinematography that Blade Runner 2049 has to offer, and that’s a high bar. Roger Deakins is operating at the height of his powers, and his lens is flawlessly matched with Villenueve’s tactile world. K is stalking his mark, tension is building. Freakishly large objects loom and dwarf him. The bleakness of dust and raw, red light seeps into your pores, the stillness is deafening. There are bees.
OK I guess you will be missing out on something. Honestly though, nothing happens here that advances the story.
When you do made it back in time, you’ll be relieved and comfortable, legs stretched and ready to settle in for a third act that’s pretty relentless. And is there anything more distracting from what’s onscreen than pee-pee chair-dancing?
Besides, when you come back this movie a second time, urine luck! You’ll have a built-in deleted scene to enjoy.