Blade Runner is one of the more gaping holes in the list of films I haven’t seen (or at least, don’t remember well enough to talk about). Yesterday’s viewing of The Martian got me thinking about Ridley Scott’s past work so here I am.
I really should have done this sooner.
L.A. 2019, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is a ‘Blade Runner’ - a policeman whose sole purpose is to hunt and kill replicants; machines almost indistinguishable from humans, yet banned from Earth. Four have been detected on the planet so he is called up to hunt and kill them.
Scott’s dystopian LA draws you in and holds you captive for 2 hours. This is a masterfully shot, timeless, beautiful piece of work. Every single frame is a work of art. The visual effects are not only highly effective, but incredibly creative and unique; never has anything like this been made before or since.
The plot is simple, one man chases another. However it’s driven almost entirely by its central themes; what is it to be human? Who deserves to live or die? Are we responsible for the things we create? What happens when our creations surpass us? All of these questions go unanswered, yet Scott somehow revels in the ambiguity.
Decker is a blank canvas of a character. The replicants he is chasing are complex, unique individuals. It’s no accident that Rutger Hauer plays the most human character in the film. His is the stand-out performance here, if only for the closing monologue.
Still fresh & still relevant, Blade Runner is indeed a modern masterpiece.