Directed by: Ridley Scott
Written by: Hampton Fancher & David Peoples
Starring: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos
Dominion over others has long been in the nature of humanity through literal ownership in slavery or increased control over other beings. Assuming that control leaves the controller to deal with the ramifications of any break from a system that allows them that sort of power. Of course, as humanity has shown time and time again, the responsibility will inevitably be pushed off onto others, which created the Blade Runner profession to hunt down and retire replicants.
After a recent emergence of a newer brand of replicants, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) gets brought back into the role of retiring them. As one last go around, Deckard investigates where they have been, how they’re created, and what they seek to accomplish given the purpose they’ve been given.
Heralded as one of the greatest science-fiction films ever made, Blade Runner runs on many bucket lists of films you must see because of the predictive nature of what 2019 would look like back in 1982, but also because of the groundbreaking elements, it introduces and then subsequently gets copied. It may be intimidating trying to watch this feature because of all the different cuts that exist out there, as director Ridley Scott continues to tinker with his initial creation. The only one I’ve seen is The Final Cut, which is what I will be reviewing. After experiencing the film, I can assuredly agree that this film holds up and delivers on its groundbreaking themes.
The setting takes place in California 2019, where flying cars hover over a congested city and bright screens cover buildings advertising to the citizens. The strong hue of blue and the large cloud of rain continually falls on the people going about their business in such a cold world. That’s where we find Deckard, who gets dragged into something he put away some time ago. Getting back into the game has him reprise the dangerous feat of retiring replicants.
Replicants are not humans, they have been created to fulfill a particular service, but when we attempt to play God as humans, things unsurprisingly go wrong. The replicants fight to live as would any life form but they happen to be stronger than the typical human and equal in intellectual capacity. Trying to keep these creations as simple slaves would always be a challenge so there’s a need for these Blade Runners to go around and retire them for the sake of humanity. Deckard’s journey to tracking them down boils down to a noir detective story, where he needs to take out unwanted members of the community. The fact-finding and investigatory missions he must take on lead to many more questions, where the answers fail to provide comfort.
Harrison Ford does very well as Deckard in creating a character, who happens to be as mysterious as the people he’s been tasked to hunt down. Having this film be released in between his star-making roles in Star Wars and the Indiana Jones films, he found himself attempting something different with the character of Deckard. With it, he decided to cut his hair short, which stunned people upon the release of this film. He pairs up well with Sean Young, who portrays Rachael. Her character becomes key to the philosophical idea of the existence of these replicants. With the ones he tracks down to retire, they appear to be simple baddies, but Rachael provides a different look at what a replicant can be. Her predicament happens to be her ignorance of her actually not being human. She was created as an experiment and her slow realization that she actually has always been a replicant breaks her down. It demonstrates the brutal life these replicants live where they have memories implanted into them only for them to realize it’s the experiences of someone else.
The technical elements of the film cannot be questioned as it transports us into a future that happens to be incredibly dreary. It feels so dark and helpless, as we’ve continued to exploit others for our own gain, except this time around we’re doing it to people we artificially create. The scenes of Deckard driving his flying car through the city shows a future well predicted, and the strong score to match it. It shows excellent work by director, Ridley Scott, who came off of creating his masterpiece, Alien. His constant tinkering with this film demonstrated a product, which ran through the hands of many people seeing fit what this story should signify. It went from having voice-over to different plot points being emphasized. Regardless, the final cut out there shows an incredibly immersive science-fiction movie willing to tackle some deep philosophical ideas about creation and control.
Despite its failure at the box office during its initial release, time has shown once again to be the ultimate arbiter of quality, and Blade Runner has continually stuck around. It’s themes remain potent and the questions it poses about existence and humanity remain unanswered even today. A story that deserves constant analysis and would then inspire many other science-fiction tales to dream bigger.