Edinburgh Cinema

Edinburgh’s cinemas have their own, different feel. When I visit them, I’ll be writing about both the film and the place, giving you the organic experience. Film critics on the big scale can’t really cater for this, so I hope my reviews bring something extra in this respect.

Blade Runner 2049


Blade Runner 2049 06.10.17

I sat there in the full auditorium thinking about me as I often do during the special films. Then again, it's difficult not to with a film about cyborgs, when you're transgender and you witness again that born-in-middle-age imagery. When you realize the Grail in the plot is the discovery that cyborgs might be able to give birth – and therefore attain a new human legitimacy – the connections grow stronger still, from a wistful perspective.

Which isn't to say I understood the story completely or think it's the greatest film that's ever been made. Blade Runner 2049 is both slow and beautiful – hypnotic if it gets you in the right mood, dragged out and slightly confusing if you're not. I felt the full gamut of these reactions, as if I were slipping between states of awakenness as the film unfurled. I got what the protagonist – played by Ryan Gosling – is trying to do, as the plot line slowly emerges like one of the film's many buildings enveloped in the sandstorms. He's haunted by one particular dream, from a childhood he knows he never had – his character is a cyborg hunting cyborgs – but during the film's many scenes of hazes and shadows, he begins to see himself as part of a bigger picture. He learns about a human called Deckard, who had loved a cyborg woman. A brother and sister were born, one of them dying. Humans want the former child found and destroyed, it's his job to do so, to kill the thing that demonstrates his own potential humanity.

This much I think I understand. The plot line with a cyborg agent was a little less clear – does she want the human, Deckard, dead? Perhaps I wasn't always paying attention, it's the kind of film that can draw you into a trance.

Settings and soundtrack are much of this film, conjuring all kinds of atmosphere, sometimes shimmering and golden to gentle ripples of water. Sometimes deadening, or mechanical, or just lonely. The lead character's love affair with a virtual intelligence brought to life via hologram is strangely affecting. This is a tawdry world where any kind of love is a miracle worth clinging to. I felt I was getting a glimpse of the capitalist future, of the world having eaten itself, an arid climate that's suffocating and encroaching and everyone's alone and slightly detached, existing without joy in overcrowded cities. Yes it's been done before, not least in the original Blade Runner movie (1982). The plot was clearer in that origin story, and the characters more charismatic, but the stilted and restrained individuals of this sequel are no less effective for what they encapsulate, for what the film encapsulates without killer dialogue or an iconic scene, a humanity glimpsed through its fragile near-absence.
The Death of Stalin
Wind River


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Friday, 25 September 2020

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

July 01, 2020

Silenced by The Scotsman

​ On 11 June, The Scotsman published a deeply hostile article against transgender rights and activism in an opinion piece about the JK Rowling furore by its deputy political editor Gina Davidson. After much distress, I wrote a counter article which The Scotsman quietly ignored, after they had offered to pass it on to their Comment Editor. I experie...
May 11, 2020

The Book of Queer Prophets, curated by Ruth Hunt

in Books

  The Book of Queer Prophets: 24 Writers on Sexuality and Religion The historically fraught relationship between Abrahamic religions and LGBT+ identities provides the backdrop to The Book of Queer Prophets , a collection of twenty-four meditations by public figures who identify as both religious and LGBT+. The book's curator, the for...
May 09, 2020

Queer/Transgender short film: Mesmeralda

Joshua Matteo's short film, Mesmeralda , merging horror with esoterica, is now out on youtube . As with his previous work Metanoia , we see youthful trans actors racing through the empty streets of a moonlit New York, haunted by symbols and stalked by a masked figure of violent intentions. Mesmeralda , as described by Matteo, is the companion ...
March 08, 2020

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare Summer, 2016: Gina's Big Bang, as transitioning begins A bureaucratic question in a sun-lit room. My medical practitioner asks me if I intend to have children. The question lingers, but the self-loathing is instant. No, I won't be having children. The practitioner nods. She moves on to the n...
November 10, 2019

General Election

General Election 12 December 2019 I spent the last election in an office, alone but for the company of a colleague. We watched the BBC's coverage while I drank wine, downbeat and expecting austerity and the absence of hope to triumph. Then we saw the exit poll and hung around, disbelieving at the sight of the kindled embers and lukewarm glow of a f...
October 05, 2019


October 05, 2019


Joker The trailer did its work, flashing images of anomie and fury perfectly pitched for these unstable times of precarious working conditions, grievance and institutional indifference. For these same reasons, Joker , directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix as the protagonist, has attracted pre-release criticisms like few other recen...
September 29, 2019

Resisting Whiteness event 2019

Resisting Whiteness one-day event, Edinburgh Returning for the second consecutive year, Resisting Whiteness came yesterday to the Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh, providing an intense and inspiring series of panels, as well as a wonderful spoken word section, and a final segment based around the documentary short Invisible by internationally-acclaim...
August 21, 2019

Hearty by Emma Frankland

Hearty by Emma Frankland Raw and dripping with punk aesthetic, this one-woman-show's one-woman emerges in ripped tights and a T-shirt that paraphrases loudly the words of anti-trans theorist Germaine Greer: Lop Your Dick Off. My first impression of Emma Frankland is edgily uncertain and in awe, her Lady-Gaga-looks combined with Heath Ledger's mesme...
August 21, 2019

Pronoun, Pass, & Amnesty International

Transgender drama: Pronoun To be clear at the outset, this was the production of a youth theatre group, not a highly resourced team of experienced, professional career actors – although some of the performances left a powerful impression, and the show as a whole achieved some remarkable moments. Pronoun , written by Evan Placey, follows the transit...