Blade Runner (1982)
Article 5453 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Ridley Scott
Featuring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young
Country: USA / Hong Kong / UK
What it is: Noirish science fiction
In the future, four illegal androids (called replicants) have come to Earth. A former blade runner (replicant destroyer) is blackmailed by the police to “retire” the replicants.
I’d seen this movie years ago, and was, quite frankly, deeply underwhelmed by it, and for many years I was quick to consign this one to the ranks of the overrated. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this project over the years, it’s that the passage of time can modify how you see things, and that it can often be worthwhile to give things you didn’t appreciate a second chance. So, as I watched the movie this second time, I found myself responding positively to many of the things I didn’t appreciate in my first viewing. For one thing, the world of the future as envisioned in this movie is truly stunning; I love the textures, the complexities, and the sense that this is a real place. I also like that the movie doesn’t spell things out for you and allows the plot elements to be subtle; I didn’t have the patience for that sort of thing back then. The themes certainly seem a lot deeper to me nowadays as well, though I should point out that one thing that happened in the interim between the two viewings is that I read the original Philip K. Dick novel as well. I also really like the performances of Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer; the latter’s final speech may be my favorite moment in the movie. The only thing I really didn’t like was Ford’s narration; it seems poorly integrated into the action, and very rarely did it tell me anything that I wouldn’t have more enjoyed to have figured out on my own. Incidentally, I’m pretty sure I saw the original theatrical cut; I know there seem to be umpteen different cuts of the movie anymore. I was really glad to see this one with fresh eyes.