Blade Runner

Blade Runner ★★★★★

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.

Theatrical Showing

Watching Ridley Scott’s (second) sci-fi masterwork in theaters is an awe-inspiring experience. His images - images that have shaped the last near four decades of cinema (and aesthetics in general) - are crisp and overwhelming. A world of fire and rain, ash and rotted wood, cold metal and steaming sidewalks is conjured from the Moebius-inspired cityscape of Scott’s imagination. 

Ridley’s preoccupation with genre play (and fusion) - in Alien, the combination of the haunted house horror and the hard sci-fi, in Blade Runner, the noir tradition and the sci-fi - leads to some spectacularly layered moments of post-modern brilliance. History building on history, the warnings of Bradbury going unheeded - quite ironic given the message of his most famous work, intertextuality bursting out of near every frame.

But, at the end of the day, Scott’s neo-noir for the ages is a film about emapthy - or, rather, sympathy, depending on which version you choose. It’s central narrative conceit - the Voight-Kampf test - becomes the magnifying glass through which we can understand how society humanizes - and, more importantly, dehumanizes - the ‘other’. Scott’s film is, at its heart, a tale grappling with our country’s past in slavery. It understands the every brick we step on, the every building we inhabit, the every street we walk as a product of slave labor - something not so inconceivable in a country so predicated on the sweat and blood of people of color. In its end, when Deckard learns what it is to “live in fear,” he finally sees what he never really could through the chunky CRT of his Voight-Kampf machine: the ‘other’ as human. 

She won’t live...But then again, who does?

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