𝕎𝕚𝕝𝕝𝕖𝕞 (𝕃𝕖𝕠) 𝕧𝕒𝕟 𝕕𝕖𝕣 ℤ𝕒𝕟𝕕𝕖𝕟’s review published on Letterboxd:
Replaced in: Ridley Scott Ranked
Added to: Leo's Top 100+ Favorites
It surprises me to a certain extent how I have learned to appreciate the noir genre more through its successor, the neo-noir genre. I've found more empathy for the depressed, unreliable male protagonist, his dark worldview and the corresponding heavy stylization. Blade Runner is undeniably one of the best examples of this. It doesn't just use the trademarks of noir cinema, it enhances and expands them through the dystopian sci-fi setting and, more importantly, through its bleak existentialist story that tries to convey what it is that makes us humans. It's gloomy-eyed, unreliable, short of speech protagonist Deckard looks for truth of existence within the replicant subjects he has to hunt down, yet finds doubt and confusion within his own troubled mind. His memory is vague and the search for these replicants is not only a job for him, but also somewhat of a possible answer. Yet Ridley Scott (in all the wisdom that he still possessed back then...) doesn't shoe-horn anything. He leaves his magnum opus full of possibilities. He let's the impressively detailed world speak for itself and imprints the setting within its characters. Dialogue is used, but only when necessary and only to great effect. The words that are spoken are like soft, short poetic stances - dialogues, yes, but never conversations that have a clear beginning or end. The whole scenario of Blade Runner could even be perceived as something impressionistic. It gives a precise amount of points for us to focus on and ponder at, forcing us to find an answer in all the chaos of the dimly lit city, to connect the dots for ourselves.
Watching this in its final form (the Final Cut), I believe I finally realize why it has taken so long for Scott to create a good version of it. I haven't seen all of them (nor can I remember which version I saw as a teen), but I do see how the precision of a craftsman was needed to make this whole film work like it does. Blade Runner, more than any other film Scott has made or like many other films in the science fiction genre, balances on the unreliability of the facts. I've read that certain versions of the film were aided by extra narration and explanations, which ultimately dumbed down the impact of the whole film. Blade Runner works because it leaves so many questions hanging. Towards the middle of the film I felt like I had merely seen a few minutes, yet so much had already been shown to me and yet still so little. The story could've been expanded into many more hours of film (which probably explains why there was a rough cut of about 4 hours!), yet it is edited, cut together to be a beautiful whole that can be viewed from many, different sides while still leaving space for more and more questions. That, in the end, is what science fiction does. It creates a world, lets a story play there for the audience to observe, but when that story has finished the audience must still ponder about what it is they've seen and have been told. Blade Runner did that. It made us think while still being a masterful display of the arts. The effects, the acting, the music... all comes together in a near-perfect culmination of the inside and the outside. One of the best films and one of the best science-fiction films ever made. MASTERPIECE.