Blade Runner

Blade Runner ★★★★½

“Death, well I’m afraid that’s a little out of my jurisdiction.” 

This movie is just beautiful. It’s one of my favorite sci fi films and I think it’s without a doubt a technical masterpiece. The sound design, lighting, cinematography, and visual effects are stunning and it all still holds up, even now in the “distant future” year of 2019 that this film is set in. 

I still love most every element of this movie, save for the uncomfortable “love” scene that I take issue with for portraying a very strange idea of romance. It is more than likely not intended to be sexual assault, which is why I believe based on this film and 2049 that they really did come to love each other and I buy into their relationship but the way they chose to stage that moment is troubling and hard to watch. I don’t know what the filmmaker’s intent was with the scene but one could argue that it’s representative of Deckard’s misinformed beliefs about replicants that are later changed as he comes to actually love her and see replicants and humans on the same plane. You can choose to read the scene that way in order to tie it into the themes of the movie but I do believe at the end of the day that it’s simply a product of a time where that sort of “romance” was the norm in film and tv. I still have mixed feelings about it but I’m glad it’s a talking point because it’s something that should be discussed. 

Harrison Ford’s Deckard is a classic noir protagonist and the film’s melding of noir mystery elements into a work of science fiction is seamless. A gritty detective story set against the backdrop of a cyberpunk, futuristic Los Angeles and it works so well. Blade Runner is a great example of less overt and more nuanced worldbuilding, with the fantastic setpieces and cityscapes. Ridley Scott does what I would call his best work here tied with Alien. Though I have many gripes with his later films (sans The Martian which I love) there’s no doubt that he’s a true master of science fiction filmmaking between those two movies. 

Rutger Hauer and Sean Young give two amazing performances in the film as Roy Batty and Rachael who I believe to be the most interesting characters in the film. Roy’s monologue at the end is iconic for good reason and Rutger delivered it brilliantly. Vangelis’ music really fleshes out the noir elements of the movie while also emphasizing the science fiction style with tons of synthesized and inorganic instrumentation. It’s a beautiful score for a really amazing film. One of the all time greats but honestly one that I don’t like as much as the sequel which is one of my favorite movies of all time.

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