Blade Runner

Blade Runner ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Two of the main reasons I dislike Blade Runner 2049 are:
1. It makes whether or not Deckard is a replicant ambiguous
2. It portrays Deckard as a good guy

Central to my understanding of Blade Runner is:
1. That Deckard is a replicant
2. That Deckard is not a sympathetic character, let alone a "good guy"

Blade Runner establishes itself from the outset as a noir story, with Deckard as the bad-boy-private-eye, and the audience's main point of suture within the film. We identify with Deckard, we believe he is a human like us, we believe Roy Batty and the replicants are "the bad guys."

But then, the film challenges our intuitive perception. When Deckard kills replicants, these murders are not presented as acts of heroism, instead, the film focuses on the agony and the pain that the replicants experience which Deckard--and perhaps more importantly, Tyrell himself--deny. Deckard also sexually assaults Rachael. Deckard believes that he is a human, that she is a replicant, and that humans are superior to replicants. And because he denies her humanity, her autonomy, he believes he can assault her. (Let's not even get into how Blade Runner 2049 does an awful job handling and portraying this abusive relationship. Yuck.)

So, throughout the film our perception of Deckard is tainted, but the climatic and iconic speech from Batty along with the reveal that Deckard is--in fact--a replicant slam the final nail in the film's thesis: that the othering of people we feel are different from us is horribly harmful, that the denial of their autonomy and emotions is unjustifiable, that we actually may turn out be one of those people we have mistreated, that we may to see ourselves in them and be forced to reconcile ourselves.

By the end, even Deckard knows he is wrong. Yet, we, the audience, were never right to have sided with Deckard in the first place. We should have known better than to have believed the lie the film was selling: that replicants are bad and Deckard is good.

Deckard is no good guy.

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