Great Job, Internet!: The mysterious, devastating films of Blade Runner 2049’s Denis Villeneuve

Last year’s Arrival managed to be the rare thought-provoking, emotionally rich sci-fi blockbuster, another stepping stone on director Denis Villeneuve’s ascendence toward becoming a major Hollywood talent, currently helming Blade Runner 2049 and tapped to rework Frank Herbert’s Dune. While there’s a clear sci-fi through-line connecting those projects, he has, over the course of more than 20 years, built up a rich filmography, full of meticulously crafted shots and devastating performances. While Blade Runner is (sigh) still almost four months away, it’s worth taking a look at his rich previous works and examining what makes them all so individually effective.

In a video essay called “Crafting Morality Through Mystery,” Channel Criswell teases apart some of the French-Canadian director’s techniques. While his early films employed a gritty, handheld style, he has over time developed a more patient approach, with a largely static camera that seems …

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