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Blade Runner (1982)

  Directed by: Ridley Scott
Written by: Philip K. Dick, Hampton Fancher, Roland Kibbee, David Webb Peoples
Starring: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Edward James Olmos, Sean Young
Links: Blade Runner on the IMDb, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack, Buy the Book
Genre: Sci-Fi

This movie gets: 9.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

Blade Runner (1982) is also mentioned in em_fiction's review of Matchstick Men (2003) and em_fiction's review of Minority Report (2002).

"Accelerated Decrepitude" - a review by philmc

I've seen Blade Runner a few times now; probably close to 20. Yeah, I know, that really is too many. We watched the director's cut, which engenders a whole series of ambiguities and subtleties that I think make it a more interesting and complex story. There are some who favour the original cinematic release, which features voice-over narration and a happy ending, but that version is pretty hard to source now; for me it also has the taint of a film that was fiddled with to satisfy test-screen audiences. I also have a feeling that the director's cut of Blade Runner was one of the first, if not the first, examples of the 'Director's Cut'.

Visually, Blade Runner is stunning. One thing that really stood out for me this time was the total absence of anything natural in the landscape. There is only a cityscape which stretches on forever, occupied by crumbling buildings and a few humans who aren't able to migrate to a better planet. It's not just dystopian; Blade Runner broke the SciFi mold with a visual depiction of the future as technologically advanced but dirty and corrupt.

Harrison Ford plays Deckard, a special cop who tracks and retires rogue humanoid robots called replicants. Rutger Hauer, in easily his best role, plays Roy, the leader of a group of rebellious replicants who have hijacked a transport ship and made their way back to Earth in search of an andidote for their built-in 4 year lifespan. Deckard is coerced into giving up early retirement to track down the killer replicants. Along the way he falls in love with a sexy-yet-chaste fembot named Rachael (Sean Young), who thinks that she's human by virtue of implanted memories.

One of the central ambiguities of the film is the suggestion that Deckard himself is a replicant with implanted memories; the director's cut actually increases the case for suggesting that he is, with the daydream of the white unicorn that Deckard has half-way through, and the origami unicorn left by Gaff (Edward James Olmos) at the film's close. The film purposefully blurs the line between humans and replicants though, showing that there is little that can be shown to separate them; in that sense, the question of Deckard's humanity becomes moot.

Blade Runner brilliantly fuses its action detective story with a philosophical enquiry into the meaning of being. An even rarer accomplishment though: it takes its source material, Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and produces a work of substance that adds layers of meaning to the story rather than cutting them back.

philmc gives this movie 9 out of 10.
Review created on Wed 16 Feb 2005

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