Today I watched Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982)
There are few behind the scenes stories of Hollywood as ubiquitously known and repeated as the many releases of Blade Runner. There are at least seven unique edits to the movie available to consumers, I will be watching the Final cut as I believe it to be the best edit of the film. Blade Runner defines the subgenre of Tech-Noir, a mixture of film noir and cyberpunk, a style we have already seen touched on in Minority Report and to a lesser extent Ghost in the Shell.
A Blade Runner is a detective who tracks and “retires” replicants, human-like sentient androids used as slave labour. Harrison Ford plays Deckard, A retired blade runner who is brought back in for one final job. This story of course raises so many questions as to how we will treat our intelligent creations, how we segregate ourselves (as the replicants are indistinguishable from humans), and the exploitation of labour. And the film juggles this mass of ideas incredibly well, Rutger Hauer plays the lead replicant and his performance is the key to the film’s ideology.
Watching it today it is amazing how Blade Runner has not aged, the special effects are still better than most films out there, even modern ones. This film came out during the final era of practical effects, when the technology was at it’s most developed and the skills were at their most developed. It is almost as if you can step into the world within the frame with it’s incredible skylines and sets. Vangelis’ soundtrack adds to the magic with it’s synthetic lounge jazz feel crossing with the noirish visuals and frequent somber moments to give the film an incredibly genuine emotional impact.
It is no wonder to me why Blade Runner has become such a classic, it has a great balance of art and entertainment with a very serious atmosphere that never treats the audience with condescension. It is a beautiful film with some of the strongest visuals in all of film and has the evocative sounds to match. The performances are incredible and Rutger Hauer’s tears in the rain speech is one of my favorite scenes in any movie. Blade Runner is must watch cinema and if you have not seen it you absolutely must, any version you please. 5/5