Alex_Lillquist’s review published on Letterboxd:
Any film that can cure a headache is a perfect score in my book. When I first saw Blade Runner a few years back (the director's cut I believe) I wasn't all too impressed with it when it was over. I definitely appreciated the visuals, not amazed but very fond of, but the story and the characters just didn't work for me. It didn't make any sense to me, I wasn't fully invested into it and so I just wrote it off as a classic that I could respect. I just appreciated what it did for the film industry- for film-making. Now, did I really not like it or was I just far too overwhelmed to what Blade Runner had just presented to me? As much as I was unimpressed I just couldn't stop thinking about it. Like many of my top favorites, this one worked its way up from the bottom of passable all the way to the top to a full-fledged masterpiece. Blade Runner was probably in my top twenty films before, but now after viewing the final cut it could have very well made it even higher on my list (but can you really rank your favorite films? sure, but that's a whole other discussion).
Blade Runner can definitely be an overwhelming film on first viewing, especially to film new-comers, being that it's a rather simple story that expands on many thematic elements such as what it means to be human, how are memories define us, social statuses, love and a whole lot more that I probably don't understand. It's a busy film but a plus to Blade Runner is that you don't need to have a full understanding of any of its elements to have a satisfying experience. Blade Runner is credited as being one of the first cyberpunk films being that the streets of L.A. in 2019 are as much filled with the highs of technology as it is with the lows of society. It's crowded, it never stops raining, and it looks absolutely gorgeous. What's nice about Ridley Scott's direction is that he actually shows us this world. He doesn't cut a scene when characters stop talking he continues to film them while putting a bigger emphasis on the surroundings engrossing us, with help from Vangelis' magnificent score, into this incredibly detailed, neon drenched, smoke filled city. Say what you want about Scott as a director, but he does a bang-up job at creating worlds and actually getting us into them.
(Slight spoilers in this paragraph) The way Scott handles his characters is rarely the same way he handles his worlds. This wasn't as apparent then as it is now. Now a days his characters are either flat, trying too hard, or are just plain weird (mainly focusing on the Counselor here). Of course, his newer characters aren't always terrible, many of them are actually pretty solid with some powerful performances behind them, but they lack memorability. With Blade Runner it's a little antagonizing to tell just how much Scott cares for them, being that he flat out told us whether or not Deckard is an actual replicant. He's definitely invested into his characters, but I really hate that he gave out an answer for "is he a replicant?" because it slightly ruins the mythos of the final battle between Deckard and Batty (is it the idea of man vs. machine or simply replicant vs. replicant?). Not only that but to a certain degree it diminishes Deckard's search for humanity. His search for what it means to be human that he lost a long time ago. That was pretty annoying what Scott did, but I'll believe what I want to believe since there is still a good amount of evidence to prove that Deckard is a human as much as he is a replicant.
I haven't seen the first cut (or the theatrical cut) yet so I can't judge Ford on his supposedly terrible narration, nor should I at all, but I can say that his performance is top work here. As empowering as a Blade Runner sounds he gets kicked around a whole lot. He plays this vulnerable, destructive character extremely well for not only are we able to sympathize with him but also relate to him with his search for some type of companionship. Rutger Hauer is definitely the stand out actor not only for his philosophies like the heartbreaking "tears in the rain" but for just how mesmerizing his character is in the search to live longer.
I don't think that there is anything else quite like Blade Runner. There have been many films that have been heavily influenced by Blade Runner but there has never been a film that matches the mood or the ambition that Blade Runner went out and set. It's just perfect. Maybe many of its ideas and philosophies out match its execution and for that it might come out as uneven, but I feel that Blade Runner gives us the answers to many of these ideas and leaves a good amount of them up for interpretation. After all there are like four cuts. But even if its ideas or answers don't satisfy you still have the rest of the film. It's beautiful, alluring, and far ahead of its time. Blade Runner is overwhelming on the first try, but so rewarding on its re-watch. It is noir and sci-fi at its very best.