This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
sal’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
This is undoubtedly one of the most talked about films... ever. Between the 8 different cuts, the unclear morals, the ambiguous ending, the thousands of interpretations, just about every detail of Blade Runner has been dissected down to its single atom. I only found this out, of course, after finishing the film, and immediately going to google to try and understand that strange ending. Going down the rabbit hole of theories and explanations, I felt, for whatever reason, unsatisfied. It's not that these things were uninteresting, or that I largely disagreed with a general consensus. It was that, at least from page one of the google search results for "blade runner analysis" and similar search terms, I couldn't find much on the morals or alignments. So, with all being said, I'd like add my droplet into the sea of interpretations that this film has received.
After thinking on the film for a few days, i've kind of solidified my idea of this film's characters, and one thing has become pretty clear to me: At least for the majority of the film, Deckard is not the hero of this story-- he is the villain. In my eyes, this is the only way the events presented in this film are fully explained. I've come to this conclusion for a few reasons:
Firstly, the Blade Runners, as represented by the ideals of Tyrell, seem to have no moral code. They act purely on the basis of an unquestionable law, with an aim only to profit from their killings. Deckard seems to be satisfied with this role, and though he occasionally shows sympathy towards the replicants, he has no issue carrying out his given task without question. His primary purpose is self gain, and he seems to care little about the costs.
Secondly, look at the presented relationship between Rachael and Deckard. At first, it seems like a mutually beneficial relationship that was possibly underdeveloped in the film. But, at least in my eyes, it doesn't seem that way at all when inspected closely. Since the meeting between the two characters, whether intentional or not, Deckard only causes hurt to Rachael. He reveals to her that she is a replicant, he puts her in a position where she is forced to kill another replicant, and, of course, the infamous assault scene. From the beginning, he only causes her pain, while she strings along, wishfully searching for the pieces that he took away from her.
Thirdly and finally, when seeing the replicants through the sympathetic lens that I imagine director Ridley Scott envisioned the viewer would look through, Deckard can only be painted as a threat, a grim-reaper-type villain. Blade Runners in general are their greatest and only predator, and Deckard, known as one of the most powerful, is surely seen as their archvillain. Following this logic, Blade Runner DOES have a hero, it's just not Deckard... it's Roy.
Though not perfectly, Roy tracks pretty well as a hero. He is the leader of the rebel replicants, he is a powerful foe equal to Deckard, and he has his own fleshed out morals and ideas. Roy is the perfect hero for this story, a strong replicant and a rebel hoping to make a change in a corrupt society. In my opinion this is the interpretation that gives the most impact to the characters and their actions, causing for a tragic twine of a storyline that follows through with little holes and stronger moments (particularly the climactic scene). But that's just my pebble in the boulder that is Blade Runner theories...