Blade Runner

Blade Runner ★½

I first watched Blade Runner a few years ago, then I opted for the Final Cut. Now I've come back to watch the Theatrical Cut because I feel like it deserved a second chance. Ridley Scott is a great director. I love sci-fi films. And I particularly love 80's films. So why doesn't this click with me?

Set in the..well, present I guess, Deckard is a Blade Runner - a special cop/detective that tracks down Replicants, androids that have gone rogue and are disguising as humans.

This film has had a huge influence on a lot of great contemporary sci-fi, and yes, the cyberpunk "neo-noir" aesthetic is really impressive and stylish. But to me that's..everything about this movie. That's where the fascination ends. To me this is Ridley Scott's most vacuous, pretentious and meandering film. It just drones on for two endless hours and seems determined to want to put me to sleep. Even the score feels like a combination of an electronic lullabye and bad porn saxophones.

The only thing I found even remotely interesting is that the Voight-Kampff test is not at all unlike being tested for autism: someone asks questions about empathy and gauges your emotional response. Befitting that Daryl Hannah plays a Replicant as she has Asperger syndrome.

I thought the narration by Ford in this version didn't help matters much. He sounds about as concerned as if he were recording it on a Sunday morning before heading off to the store. "Just record this bit and then you can go."

The entire film feels to me like crushing style over pondering substance, like the entire film tries to be meaningful and deep but it just rings hollow from start to finish. The entire look, pacing and sound of the film is also slow like molasses, and dark and smoky enough to be at best comatose and at worst borderline depressing. I get it, it's a noir detective story, but even those can have a little life in them.

Maybe I'm missing the whole point, that there's some kind of brilliant revelation in the story, or maybe you had to see this when it was new to fall in love with it. Either way, I've tried with two out of the 11 different cuts and it's not getting any better for me. Once I get over the basic respect for the look of the sets, props and environments I just sit there for two hours hoping the film will kick off or get interesting. So far, no luck.

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