Blade Runner

Blade Runner ★★★

This is a review of the "Final Cut".
Best thing: Rutger Hauer is amazing in every scene. The whole way he moves and acts is so creepy in such a fascinating way. It's easy to see why Anne Rice envisioned him as the vampire Lestat. However, the visuals will always be the very best thing about Blade Runner. When I first watched the film it seemed darker and less captivating, possibly because it was on VHS. I don't know if it's the improvements in the Final Cut or just that I'm watching a DVD, but it's brighter and I can finally make out all the little details.

Worst thing: Seriously, what is the point in the rape scene here? It's hard enough to connect with Harrison Ford's character without him being an utter prick. Is it to show how low Rachael has sunk? We met her as a secretary in a smart outfit and now she's on the run and in an abusive relationship. That's pretty dark, but it's a side-show to the story of the replicants confronting their creators.

When I first saw Blade Runner I didn't get it. It was a dark dingy vision of the future. In some scenes it was actually hard to even make out was happening. The characters were often intentionally weird because they are robots and the lead protagonist is withdrawn and we never really come to know him. There was also a slow dull scene where the protagonist is sitting around playing piano and dreaming of unicorns that seemed to go on forever.

Watching the Final Cut, everything is better. The visuals are clearer. The unicorn dream scene doesn't seem to last so long or drag so much. Somehow Ford seems to have a little more personality this time. I have read that they cut a swear word and replaced it with father, but in a film where, on first viewing, I struggled to understand the point, a line like "I want more life father" feels more suitable thematically.

I keep hearing people complain that Blade Runner: The Final Cut removes the ambiguity over whether Harrison Ford is a replicant. Frankly, if he's not a replicant, the unicorn dream is a dumb waste of time. The Final Cut's final scene shows us clearly what silver origami animal Harrison Ford picks up and the better pacing made it easier to grasp the full significance of this. It makes this a proper ending rather than just leaving me cold like the original director's cut did.

The Final Cut is the only version of this film that I actually like. Besides, Rutger Hauer, the main characters are still too flat and this is a film more focused on mood than story or character. I know Blade Runner is viewed as a classic, but for me it's just 'fine'.

P.S. This video indicates that another change in the final cut from the director’s cut is an increase in the amount of gore. We’re only talking about a few short clips, but I think it really does help to add to the drama and up the stakes. It’s one thing seeing that Rutger Hauer has stabbed himself with a nail, but seeing that he has to shove it all the way through his hand? It’s more impactful and makes it clearer how short term this solution must be. The upcoming demise of the replicants as they track down their creators is a vital part of the film, so it’s not just gore for the sake of it. It’s an important part of the dramatic progression of the film. Drama that I thought was way too lacking in the first “director’s cut”.

My review is here:

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