Blade Runner

Blade Runner ★★★★★

Batty: I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain... Time to die.

[Final Cut]

One of the most profound and philosophic pieces of cinema of all time, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is a hypnotic, entrancing, beguiling, and beautifully realised piece of neon noir science fiction. It speaks to the eternal struggle we as a race face to know who we are and why we are here, and rather than offering protagonists and antagonists, clear cut and classifiable, it instead offers a meditation on the will to survive and the will to thrive, and how far a people is willing to go to preserve the miraculous gift of existence.

I struggle to articulate the effect Blade Runner has on me critically, but emotionally it is emphatically clear. When I lay in bed at night sometimes, staring at the ceiling in the dark as my mind wanders around the recesses of my memories, Vangelis’ ethereal score accompanies me down the rabbit hole. When I wake from a half-remembered dream, the neon inflected lights of my mind’s eye never fail to take me back to a Los Angeles I and we could never truly see. And when I find myself at the pit of despair, questioning why I am here and what it is all for, Roy Batty’s final monologue soothes my soul and sharpens my tears. 

We are, each of us, only given one life to live, filled in by those we love and the experiences we share. I have seen things you people wouldn’t believe, and you have seen things I couldn’t dare to imagine. And yet collectively, we all wander on into the night, knowing nothing more than our ultimate fate and the bittersweet truth of our existence. Why would anyone, human or otherwise, want to let all of this go? This life, these feelings, these impossible thoughts and these euphoric and exhausting and epochal moments that define our very fibrous being? Our first kiss and our first fight. Our first love and our first loss. We rage, rage, and we must against the dying of the light, and then in death we all become equal. Our stories pass on from generation to generation until eventually they evaporate, our mark keenly felt but no longer seen, like tears in the rain.

Replicant, human, it matters not. To feel is to never want the ability to feel to leave us, and to fight for that right is the most human thing of all.

A masterpiece. A singular, spectacular, soul-searing and life-changing masterpiece. And it isn’t even the best Blade Runner film.

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