They often say a villain is the hero of their own story…
If that is the case then I think in 2017 we witnessed the BEST performance of 2017 in film. That performance is SYLVIA HOEKS as LUV in BLADE RUNNER 2049. I think Luv was the best villain of 2017 and one of the best villains in cinematic history. Let me explain:
Let me first just say that I loved BLADE RUNNER 2049. I think it was the rare blockbuster that made you think, feel, and ask questions. That immersed you with astonishing visuals, great performances, and with intelligence. A big budget film with A list stars that has patience and trusts the audience. These types of films are rare and with the disappointing Box Office results, they may become even more rare.
But, most people have discussed how fantastic a film this is. How much they enjoyed it. They talk about the cinematography, they talk about the direction, the nostalgia, etc.. and rightfully so, those things are what makes this film special. But the thing that stuck with me personally while watching this film, and even days and weeks later was Sylvia Hoeks’ performance in this film as Luv.
To put it simply, she was brilliant.
It was an intelligent and dedicated performance. Her presence on screen was felt throughout the entire film. Any time she appeared on screen I feel the movie was at it’s very best. From her movements, to her stature, to her line deliveries, everything about her performance was so nuanced and controlled. Which made the moments of underlying rage brewing within her that much more effective. Luv was such a complex character and one I was completely fascinated by. As good as the entire cast is in this film, Luv sticks out to me for not only the above reasons but because you find yourself after the film realizing the many layers of her performance and character.
Moments that really stick out, and we are going in to SPOILER ALERT territory here if you still haven’t seen the film, are not only the scene where she is trying to get information on the location of Officer K from Lieutenant Joshi in an incredible scene. Robin Wright is very effective here and Sylvia Hoeks once again shows her incredible range in this scene alone. Going from assertive and calm, to the underlying rage finally coming out in violent ways. Throughout the film she shows this type of range and her character has such a great arc but also one that has mystery of her character that you desperately want to know more about and with repeated viewings try to figure out. Her subtle actions that give a peek into her humanity and who she is, whether it be a tear streaming down her stoic face, a look of giddy excitement when she emerges from the water with a sense joy seeing Deckard knowing (thinking) she has won, and her fight scene with Officer K has so many layers.
LET’S TALK ABOUT THAT FIGHT SCENE.
It was such an insanely beautiful scene and probably my favorite action scene of 2017. How abrupt it is when it begins, how the two characters fight in emerging water, there is something going on there that director Denis Villenueve does such an incredible job doing in his films and that is trusting the audience to notice these moments without having to explain it or overdo it. He presents this fight scene in an almost poetic and visceral sense. The fighting style of Luv in contrast to the fighting style of Officer K is a microcosm of the conflict in the entire film. The entire performance is just perfect in every sense in my opninion. My favorite moment and one I would love to know if it was scripted or improvised is the moment, SPOILER ALERT, when Luv puts the dagger in Officer K and twisting it, knowing at the time she is superior and looking at him, grabbing him, and kissing him. Emerging from him as he falls to his knees, and she backtracks with blood underneath her nose, and water streaming down her face, with the incredible line of “I’m the best one.” I still get goosebumps thinking about that moment and how I constantly remembered it as I think back on this gorgeous film. Even the way she delivers the moment of being chocked out by Officer K and her struggle and her eventual demise, the look on her face and the way Sylvia delivers so many different emotions in just one scene, and with one look.
This is incredible acting and a superstar in the making. I could go on and on about this performance and character. I can’t wait to watch the film a few more times and find even more subtle moments that can be discussed further. I wish this performance would of received more love in the supporting actor categories at all the major awards shows. I think she was extremely deserving and with the films of 2017 over with and the last major awards show coming up, The Oscars, I wanted to just one more time give support to this performance and this actress. I think it was an absolute brilliant, powerhouse of a performance and my favorite performance of 2017. I keep going back to this performance over and over and it stuck with me. Sylvia Hoeks is the real deal, and one day, I hope the awards voters recognize it.
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