Ethan ☀️’s review published on Letterboxd:
Stunning set design does not a good movie make, though it can certainly make the viewing experience more bearable.
I’m very passionate about both the film noir and sci-fi genres, I got into both early in my film career and, as a result, I’ve done a crazy amount of research on both, their histories, their trademarks, and the underlying ideas behind both.
Blade Runner is a movie at odds with itself, the two genres it inhabits make for one of the most gorgeous films of all time but in every other aspect its working to its detriment. The philosophical musings so present in Phillip K Dick’s other works (admittedly I’ve only seen minority report) are reduced to a footnote, with a few passing exchanges and a famous monologue that is far too short we are expected to glean the entirety of human existence from a paper thin plot and blandly written characters. Or at least that’s what the reddit community wants you to think. In reality the themes behind the film are so basic a third grader could have written something on the same level of complexity. The sci-fi philosophy ends up making the noir aspects overly simplistic and devoid of meaning and the noir style, while undoubtedly pretty to look at, mudle the sci-fi into a couple of smokey conversations often interrupted by killer androids. It can’t commit to a style and ends up feeling like a pile of arthouse mush, caving under the weight of its genres and ideas into 2 hours of pretty set decorations and poorly choreographed actions scenes.
And no, the Deckard/replicant debate isn’t interesting because it's rarely brought up and Roy isn’t a sympathetic villain because his reasoning is basic and his dialogue is atrocious, they’re both 40% of a really good concept and 60% cliches.
And don’t even get me started on that Deckard/Replicant scene (you know the one)
Screw this movie