This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
DBC’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Well look at that, I've finally reached my 1000th review. I know I'm all over the place with regard to when I watched a movie versus when I finally review it, but here we are, number 1000!
So this seems like as good a time as any to mention that, like a replicant who's failed one Voight-Kampff test too many (so, one) I am retiring...
...from watching the Director's Cut of Blade Runner again anytime soon.
(as for the reviewing thing, I'll keep doing it as much as I can as long as I can but honestly it is a bit of a struggle, not because I don't like doing it but life sometimes seems really determined to make it as challenging as possible to get done... but if you've really been reading my nonsense thank you so much for that and I will keep reading what you put out as much as I can, you guys are great)
But yeah, why am I giving up on the Ridley Scott Director's Cut of Blade Runner, which I love and have watched countless times since its 1992 release in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the original film?
Well, here's my problem. After reading the book Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner, watching the documentary Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner, reading the Philip K Dick novel the film is based on, and reading countless other articles and critiques of the film (in addition to just having seen it so, so many times now) I just can't get lost in the world of the movie anymore. I can still get lost in moments, and usually the beautiful artistry that permeates them---
(the opening rise of Vangelis' score as the spinners fly over the smoke-and-fire stack city)
(the wispy cigarette haze and glowing eyes of Sean Young as she takes the Voight-Kampff test)
(The Métal hurlant/Heavy Metal-channeling ambience of Deckard's soft electric glowing and humming apartment)
---but then my mind is back to the fascinating production details (really one of the most interesting I've encountered) like a commentary track I just. Can't. Shut off.
I love this film, but all I'm thinking about when I watch it is what was going on behind the scenes with the crew the day of shooting. How what I'm looking at differs from earlier drafts or even what the shooting script said they were supposed to do. I've got different excerpts from interviews running through my brain, reminding me what the actor said they were going for at a particular moment. I'm sorry if this sounds like a brag, but it feels like a curse. I want to get lost in the poetry again but all I see is a sea of footnotes. Until...
Okay, there's still one element of the film left which, during the second half, does manage to draw me back into believing in the movie's magic trick yet one more time, at least a little bit:
Hauer really takes over the second half of the film, and in doing so, just about fully recaptures my imagination… especially the more his tribe of fellow replicant escapees are whittled down to the point of extinction. It's like with each of their deaths their collective angst is quietly compounding under Hauer's cool exterior until finally, when he is all that is left, he has no other recourse but to gouge out the eyes of their Creator.
I can't argue with that feeling.
So many people that I've met do not understand or condone (even within the fiction of the story) his doing that, and can only grok it as some gratuitous act of stylistic cinematic violence.
But I feel you, Roy. Accelerated decrepitude is a motherfucker.
The way Rutger Hauer thoroughly sells Roy Batty's final hours is the main reason I can still finish this movie with something resembling a genuine emotional connection to it and not like a dispassionate academic observer.
So I think this will be the last time I watch the director's cut for a while. Like I said, I love this film and I want to get lost in it again, and to do that I think I need to shake things up somehow. I guess I could go back and watch the original theatrical version again for the first time in a while. Or I could finally see what the Final Cut is all about. I've also been putting off the 2017 sequel for a long time, half waiting to watch it once my home viewing set up is a little better, half waiting for a rainy day of sorts to throw it on so I can then be amazed by it. Am I the only one who does that, saves movies they know they are likely to enjoy for a time when they really need the pick-me-up?
I'll be back, perpetually-overcast 2019 Los Angeles of Blade Runner. Maybe then you'll get a proper review. I just need to find some fresh new eyes first. And isn't that what it's really all about with Blade Runner? Eyes?