Blade Runner ★★★★★

"Too bad she wont live. But then again who does?"

Well my dear Gaff, aka Admiral Adama, aka Edward James Olmos, it seems the good ones live. Blade Runner is one of the good ones, and it will live forever.

The Timeless quality of Blade Runner is due in no large part to it's focus on it's script and it's characters. It is often said that this is Ridley Scott's finest film, and while that is possibly true, it does a great disservice to David Peoples and Hampton Fancher. These two writers managed to take Philip K Dicks short novella, and extract a whole universe from it. They then populate this universe with real, flawed and ultimately human characters. Even the robots.

Ridley Scotts visual style is the linchpin holding it all together of course, and without his steady hand on the tiller, Blade Runner could have ended up as a big confusing blob of half cooked Sci Fi nonsense. But it doesn't. It instead feels measured and deep. There is no focus on the spectacle(and it IS spectacular). The special effects and wizz pow elements are used to inform the story rather than drive it. His input is felt during the key scenes; Deckard questioning Rachael, Deckard Chasing Zora, The final rain soaked cat and mouse pursuit. Scott's use of film language is amazing, these scenes would be as powerful if they were silent.

Of course they arn't silent and here we get another one of Blade Runner strengths; The Script and Dialogue. The film positively soars during the talky bits; "My mother? I'll tell you about my mother", "You wont believe what Iv'e seen with your eyes", "I've seen attack ships on fire of the shoulder of Orion", "Time to Die". Each character gets treated to a moment, many of them more than one than defines their screen presence and the narrative always has room for these complex characters to breath.

The Script isn't afraid to deal with big ideas either. It knows what speculative Science Fiction can do and sets out to deliver some pretty strong messages. We get contemplations on death and identity. A probing look into the future of Artificial intelligence. Mankind playing God, and what it means to meet your maker(It's no wonder we got so excited about Prometheus). All of these elements are woven into a film Noir framework and presented to us from the point of view of hard boiled and flawed anti hero.

Harrison Fords Portrayal of Deckard is pitch perfect. He is vulnerable, tough, streetwise, scared and capable all at the same time. He is perfectly foiled by Rutger Hauer. His intense performance as Roy Batty the leader of the Replicants is astounding. He manages to capture a terrifying sense of menace and a child like innocence with seemingly no effort. When he is let off the chain in the films final moments he becomes a feral pursuer. A mad wolf to Deckard's running frightened sheep. The rest of the cast are pretty good too, but have less to do. They do enough to keep the complexities of the characters but don't really turn heads. Except Edward Olmos' Gaff. He is a mercurial and mysterious character and one you never really know anything about. He lurks around making little models and being sinister, finally allowing Deckard and Rachael to flee, but we cant be sure for how long.

Over the years Blade Runner has been tweaked and re-cut many many times(I think I own 6 separate versions, this viewing was of the Blu-ray Final Cut) until finally Ridley Scott had a version he was happy with. This Final Cut version is the one people suggest is the most complete and the most coherent. Personally I like the Directors cut, which came out only a few years after the original, but to be honest there isn't much to choose between them. Even the version with the voice over is great. It's a bit more on the nose, but Blade Runner can be a hard film for some, so some explanations cant be a bad thing.

Blade Runner is an enduring masterpiece that has something to say, and stands head and shoulders above anything that Hollywood is doing right now. It stands up to the continuing passage of time, and constantly impresses with it's complex themes and fabulously written characters. In 10 or fifteen years time when the next installment of the Star Wars trilogy is a fading CGI smudge in or decaying minds, Blade Runner is the Sci-Fi film we will all look back on. It was the one that dared and the one that succeeded.

"I want more life.... Fucker"

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