97. Blade Runner (1982)

“A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.”

Talk about a neo-noir film. Not that I’m angry about it. I thought that it was fascinating how well this science fiction film paid homage to film noir’s of the 1940s and 1950s. It was obvious, but was folded into the film in such a way that it did was not a distraction from the futuristic plot.

There were so many elements that were film noir, and I feel like I should mention a couple. First of all, Harrison Ford’s character, Rick Deckard, looked as if he had stepped right out of a 1940s film noir. He had the trench coat and everything. The same goes for his partner and the police chief. Second, the cityscapes that we are shown are all very futuristic looking complete with flying cars. However, once we move inside certain buildings like the police station for instance, we immediately feel as if we have been transported back in time to the 1940s. The lighting is dramatic, there are venetian blinds on the windows, and the air is heavy with smoke. Lastly, the concept of a Femme Fatale is present in this film, just like in most film noir’s.

Certain themes were in your face in this film. For example, the theme of paranoia and existentialism are present, both of which are elements of film noir. One of the biggest things this film does is question what makes someone human, and that is exactly what I started to do. My exact note was “Are we who we think we are? This film is going to give me an identity crisis”.

Running with the whole ‘film noir’ thing, even the woman, Rachael, had her makeup and hair done up almost like a pinup of the ‘40s, with the high hair and real red lips. It greatly contrasted with the odd clothes that she was wearing.

This film has a lot of dramatic lighting, and the color palette is mostly blue. To me, the great amount of blue light was trying to make the film look and feel as if it was in black and white. It was trying to imitate black and white. Honestly, I think it was quite successful.

It rains, literally, the entire film. The whole thing. Always raining. Film noir. Goodness.

I feel that the music is worth mentioning, only because it’s a bit odd. It definitely felt like music that would play in a film noir. However, it was definitely down electronically. It worked in a weird way, which really surprised me.

I loved the contrast between the clean, futuristic looking sky line, and the dirty streets below. The sky line is what everybody sees first. It’s what the future should be; it should be clean and pretty. Then we are taken to the streets that are crowded and filthy and, let’s be honest, they probably smell terrible. And that’s what’s really going on; filth.

So, uh, the only word I could use to describe Daryl Hannah in this film is creepy. It wasn’t until she was inside Sebastian’s house and redid her makeup that she really creeped me out. She just gave me an uneasy feeling the entire time and, I mean, rightfully so. But, still, she was super creepy. That hair, alone, was enough to creep me out.

Also, the creatures that Sebastian made were equally as creepy. I understand that he got lonely and wanted companionship, but why build such creepy little creatures. That would make me scared to go home, not happy to.

“Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it? That’s what it’s like to be a slave”. I loved that Batty essentially teaches Deckard a lesson before he dies. He teaches him what it feels like to be a replicant. Batty teaches him what it feels like to be the thing that Deckard “retires”. Then, to my surprise, Batty saves Deckard as his last act before dying. It was a beautiful moment, and Deckard’s facial expression says it all. That moment once again brings up the question of, not only are these replicants all bad, but what does it mean to be human? If the roles were switched, Deckard would have, most likely, left Batty to fall to his death, whereas Batty, the replicant, chose to save the human Deckard. Seriously, this movie is going to make me have an existential crisis.

The version I watched was the final cut, so there is no happy ending. Deckard and Rachael leave to an uncertain fate. I quite enjoyed that. Sometimes it’s nice to not have things all wrapped up with a pretty little bow at the end of a film. Sometimes it’s nice to think, and come up with something yourself.

The unicorn. Oh the unicorn. I did some research on this part of the film. Deckard dreams of the unicorn (in the final cut, he is awake for this so it’s more like a vision), and then his partner had left an origami unicorn in his apartment at the end of the film. There are a two main theories to this, which I will tell you both and then tell you which one I am choosing to believe. The first is that the unicorn proves that Deckard is, in fact, a replicant himself because his partner, Gaff, could have easily accessed Deckard’s implanted memories. The other theory is that the unicorn shows that, whether someone is human or replicant, they share the same dreams and recognize their affinity. I personally choose to believe the second theory. I like the sound of that one so much better.

As for is Deckard is a replicant or not, I try not to think about it too much, just because, once again I would be plagued with the question ‘what does it mean to be human?’ Honestly, I think it is better if the question of Deckard goes unanswered because, if it were ever to be answered, the film would lose something.

The pacing of the film was odd. It was fast, and yet at the same time seemed to lag. I don’t know. I just thought it was weird. But, it worked for this film.

I can definitely see why this film is on the list of top 100 films ever made. And, unlike Ben-Hur, this is a film that I would watch again. I mean, it’s Harrison Ford and robots. Who wouldn’t watch it again?

Grade: B

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